Spit & Sawdust
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Rhymney River Bridge Road, Unit B, Cardiff, CF23 9AF

Jasleen Kaur: Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Billboard Commission at Spit & Sawdust, Cardiff
14 March – 22 September 2019

Launch event: 14 March, 6-8pm

Group Read event: 14 March 3-5pm

In Women Hold Up Half The Sky, artist Jasleen Kaur explores postcolonial gender roles, using collage to doctor an archival image of a military gymnastics display by members of the 2nd Royal Battalion (Ludhiana Sikhs) in Waziristan. Tamed men precariously balance on each others necks, propped up by Kaur’s mother’s hand: a gesture towards her research into the invisibility of women’s voices and discovering non-masculine forms of resistance.

Jasleen came across the photograph during her research into Punjabi and Sikh colonial histories, specifically related to The World Wars and the overlooked contribution from the colonies. More than this, she discovered the enlisting strategies found in recruitment handbooks for specific ‘races’ categorised under the convenient ‘martial race theory’ (under which the Sikhs were categorised), that revealed a more truthful and insidious side to the machine of empire and the consumption of colonial bodies.

Much of Jasleen’s research draws upon feminist writing and the testimonies of lived experiences of women. As part of her project, she has selected a reading list of key books and reference texts which have informed her project and will be available to read at Spit & Sawdust for the duration of the commission.

Women Hold Up Half The Sky by Jasleen Kaur will run from 14 March – 22 September 2019. The Billboard Commission is sited in the outdoor yard space of Spit & Sawdust and provides a large-scale, site-specific platform for artists to develop new work within this multi-aspect venue.

The Billboard Commission is curated by Freya Dooley and supported by The Arts Council of Wales.


GROUP READ led by Jasleen Kaur

14 March 3-5pm

Ahead of the public launch of her Billboard Commission, Women Hold Up Half the Sky, Jasleen Kaur will host an intimate and informal reading group.

Jasleen invites all who identify as women, and especially women of colour, to join her for a non-stop group read which is influenced by her research around women’s narratives and feminist writing, with space for discussion afterwards. The text will be provided, so no prior reading or knowledge of the book is necessary.
The event is free but booking is essential. (Book here)
Hot drinks and cake will be provided for participants and a creche will be available. Spit & Sawdust is wheelchair accessible. We will be closed to the public during the event.