WE REFUSE TO BE UNSEEN by Sexcentenary


Sexcentenary is a collective of women, who identify as older, committed to the collaborative performance of gender, feminism and ageing. We are concerned with the relationship between how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves – as generators of ideas and acts of interpretation, as artists, and as critics.

Ageing, says feminist and ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold, “makes women invisible, on the street and in the boardroom, and being invisible sucks.”1 Sexcentenary believes this invisibility is not exclusively about an older woman’s diminishing sexual currency, but her power in general.

WE REFUSE TO BE UNSEEN takes the form of a “keynote address” listing our concerns and has, as a starting point, the museum itself and the Whitworth Collection (including work by women which ranges from Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread’s material responses to the world, to Winifred Nicholson’s domestic subjects and landscapes). WE REFUSE TO BE UNSEEN references and interprets this work along with other work in the collection– how it was made, what it depicts and its impact—as well as the museum as an institution, from the point of view of the older woman.

 Davies, Julie-Anne (2013) ‘The mysterious case of the disappearing women’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January. [Online]. Available at:–20130119-2czy8.html (Accessed: 27 June 2016)

We span disciplines, have different approaches, are recent graduates or very experienced artists. We are a fluid and inclusive group, with a membership that expands as needed. We aim to engage the power of older women in live art. Our members are based in England, Wales and Scotland and include: Teresa Albor Katherine Araniello, Giovanna (Gina) Maria Casetta, Kate Clayton, Sarah Kent, Katharine Meynell, Mdme Helena Vortex, and Wanda Zyborska.