Sarah debuts new performance piece AT The Other Art Fair in April 2016

The Others Live section at The Other Art Fair, curated by London-based curator Valentina Fois, will showcase a new performance piece by Sarah. 

'Comment is Free' invites fair visitors to interact with Sarah and leave comments on her work, which will be displayed in a curated stand of mix-media art pieces. By taking ownership of the comments, Sarah wishes to raise the question as to whether exposure to comments can help or hinder an artists work. Can too many critical comments end up silencing an artist? Or is it fuel for the fire?


Thursday 7 April:        4pm-5pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 8 April:             6pm-8pm

Saturday 9 April:         4pm-6pm

Sunday 10 April:         2pm-4pm

The performance itself was conceived as response/reaction to a recent interview with Sarah in The Guardian, which was shared over 11,000times and commented on 330 times. The article ultimately explored her experience of abuse, when in 2008 she created an exhibition inspired by feminism and her Islamic upbringing, something that was then deemed ‘offensive’ enough for some people to threaten her and her family.

"In 2008 I created an exhibition inspired by feminism and my Islamic upbringing. This was deemed ‘offensive’ by some enough to throw a brick through the gallery window, and by others to threaten me and my family. After my experience of abuse, this unwittingly transformed how I worked as an artist and how I realised my ideas. Even if I thought I was strong and would not give into my abusers, the memories had subconsciously lain dormant. After the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, I began to wonder why I hadn’t spoken of Islam again and if, in some way, I had been subconsciously silenced by my abusers.

I have also been interested in how opinions are formed and how modern media can facilitate an explosion of views. This is the specific aspect I will be focusing on for this performance. There is now an abundance of thought, expressed in person, on social media, television, radio and in online news articles. Never before have we become aware of so many individual views, many of which are hurriedly conceived, with some delivered behind the cloak of anonymity. Some of these views cross the line between legitimate free speech and abuse for the sake of it. This made me focus on how this exposureto comments can affect artists. In this work I am taking ownership of the comments and raising the question as to whether this exposure to so many comments can help or hinder an artists work. Can too many critical comments endup silencing an artist? Or is it fuel for the fire?” 

- Sarah Maple