Lady Skollie is a South African artist who’s aimed to break “bro code” culture and fights for women’s rights. Her works are bright, symbolic and now presented at solo exhibition in London.

 

Provocative and consumable

Lady Skollie, aka Laura Windvogel, uses every medium available to provoke and change the world – visual art, sex talk radio show and sex zin, Twitter and Instagram feed… The amount of energy spread by the South African artist is impressive. Why? Because the issues like gender, sex and abuse are really important in the country of her origin, as South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape and sexual violence in the world. Lady Skollie is on a mission to make it visible with her (consumable for Tumblr generation) art.

“I have a desire to be provocative in life in general; it can have its drawbacks but shock value has always had high worth to me. People like to be shocked more than they like being preached to; finding the right balance is important,” saying that, she’s not afraid to address her art to public persons. Of course, not to everyone – but to ones, who were accused for rape or involved in any other way. South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat and the woman called Khwezi, who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape, for example.

Lady Skollie's Fearless Art Lady Skollie's Fearless Art Lady Skollie's Fearless Art

Colourful duality

Despite dealing with serious issues, Lady Skollie’s art is much lighter. It’s colourful, erotic and filled with fruits which are, of course, symbolic. “My work is of a sexual nature, but I want to see it more as social commentary. In particular, I look at how women’s bodies are seen, these weird expectations of how women are allowed to talk about things. They want to see it as pawpaws and dicks. It’s cute. It’s easy to consume. It’s a nice way to ‘break open conversation,’” she says. The works that aimed to break “bro code” are both bold and vulnerable – just as human sexuality itself.

Lady Skollie's Fearless Art Lady Skollie's Fearless Art

Her pseudonym carries certain duality too: “ ‘Skollie’ is a term used to describe a shady character, most often for the mere fact that they’re a person of colour, in a place they should not be (according to the white minority). I am also interested in the way the word ‘Skollie’ was used to oppress and stereotype… Now owning a pair of Air Maxes renders you a ‘gangster’ and ‘street’ and the term ‘Skollie’ is now a badge of honour. I am interested in the way street cred can be bought and curated. Mostly Lady Skollie is a play on the two parts of my personality that are often at war with each other. A couple of years ago, I had these ringlets and cute 1950s dresses. But inside, I always had this element of the obscene: wanting to be against authority, to challenge the norm. I looked like a little lady, but my mouth would be dirty. Lady Skollie is a space where those two things are harmonious.”

 

Going solo

Lady Skollie’s first solo exhibition called Lust Politics opened at the Tyburn Gallery on January 19 and available till March 4. It explores unrealistic sexual standards and objectification as well as concepts of desire, gender, attraction, sexuality and sex. Worth seeing as Instagram feed is definitely not enough.

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