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That Takes Ovaries (sticker protest) 2017 Bumper sticker


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Critical Animals 2017, part of TINA, commissioned me to make a new work in response to the Newcastle Museum’s collection.

That Takes Ovaries is a response to a locally donated artefact in the Newcastle Museum collection. In 2000, a 1920s Contraceptive Douche (female contraceptive) was donated to the museum on the proviso that the donors name remain anonymous. Influenced by the perceived shame set in the parameters surrounding it, I was curious why such scandal and judgment would carried through into today. Especially considering how far contraceptive rights have progressed and at a time when we see our comrades in the USA fighting to keep access to contraceptive rights.

Coincidentally, when I found this object in the collection, I was reading Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett. Bennett provides examples of everyday women whom have resourcefully and creatively reclaim their voice in society through simple gestures of activism. A theatre troupe in the USA called themselves That Takes Ovaries to bring bold stories about women into the spotlight.  

For the Critical Animals festival, I ask audience members to paste this sticker around Newcastle on anything they think needs a bit of attitude and/or as a form of protest on something they think needs to be reclaimed by a female identity or voice. The term That Takes Ovaries is a nod to the commonly used expression That Takes Balls/Grow Some Balls referring to the male genitalia. 

I have provided a honesty box for patrons to choose whether to pay for the sticker or not, to consider the value of the artist in our society, the role of the working artist and parent, balancing a career whose two roles are predominately low or no wage.

Many thanks to all Critical Animals staff and volunteers, and directors Alex Holt and Julia Mendel.