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Thinking about Monica

Still from Portrait (Monica Sjöö), 1977, by Jane Jackson.

Monica Sjöö: An introduction 

– In considering the legacy of historical figures how can we critically explore the complexity of their lives and work whilst avoiding hagiography?

A series of events convened by Nadia Hebson, based on her research project at the Royal Institute of Art and current exhibition Scène d’Amour at Mint.

Presentations, screening and discussion with Dr Sue Tate and Mariana Vodovosoff, members of the Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective, and Jane Jackson, director of Portrait (Monica Sjöö), 1977.

Painter, writer, radical anarcho-eco feminist Monica Sjöö was born in Härnösand, Sweden in 1931 but spent much of her life living and working in Bristol, U.K. Her strident paintings explore political themes and personal beliefs, many centered on her deep interest in the Goddess Movement which she researched, published and lectured on extensively.

Together with Barbara Mor, Monica Sjöö authored The Ancient Religion of the Great Cosmic Mother of All (1981), considered a classic text of female spirituality. Of the book Sjöö wrote ‘I have tried to write a Herstory of the inner psychic meaning of the ancient religion. And of the self-awareness of those strong AND subtle women of the past – of those women who had not yet been split in half in their bodies and souls/ minds – who projected their knowledge, powers and perceptions into the image and sacred rites of the Great Goddess.’

Active in the women’s liberation, eco-feminist and peace movements, Monica Sjöö campaigned, demonstrated and made paintings, pamphlets and posters. An outspoken pioneer of feminist art, her forceful legacy in its expanded form – painting, writing, activism and scholarship – can be seen to have a heightened resonance in the current historical moment.

In parallel to the exhibition Scène d’Amour, Nadia Hebson has organised three discursive events which will explore the life and work of Monica Sjöö and the ongoing projects of artistic recuperation undertaken by artists, curators and art historians working today.

The events are hosted by Mint and are part of Hebson’s ongoing research project Destroy She Said and are realised with the support from the Royal Institute of Art’s artistic research and development funding.


24 April 2021, 14.00
Thinking about Monica: Monica Sjöö, an introduction. 
Webinar with Dr Sue Tate, Mariana Vodovosoff and Jane Jackson. 
Convened by Nadia Hebson.

3 May 2021
Thinking about Monica: Artists Lina Bjerneld, Helena Lund Ek, Alisa Margolis, Raksha Patel and Nadia Hebson discuss the legacy of Monica Sjöö, alternative Painting herstories, artistic recuperation, personal canons and the current interest in the rehabilitation of Monica Sjöö’s practice.
Pre-recorded discussion available from 3 May here.

8 May 2021, 15.00
Thinking about Monica: Nadia Hebson hosts a tour of the exhibition Scéne d’Amour at Mint, ABF. Attend by registering at

All events will be held in English.

Nadia Hebson is a British artist and educator based in Sweden and teaching at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. She uses painting, objects, large scale prints, apparel and text, to explore the work and biographies of older colleagues, including American painter Christina Ramberg, British painters Winifred Knights and Marion Adnams and most recently, Dora Gordine as part of the Dorich House Museum Studio Residency, Kingston University, London.

Exhibitions and commissions include Gravity & Parity &, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; one on one: on skills, The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, EKKM, Tallinn; I See You Man, Gallery Celine, Glasgow; Alpha Adieu, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp and Choreography, Arcade, London. In 2014 with AND Public she published MODA WK: Work in response to the paintings, drawings, correspondence, clothing and interior design of Winifred Knights (an expanded legacy). In 2017, with Hana Leaper she co-convened the conference, Making Women’s Art Matter, at the Paul Mellon Centre, London.