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Zoe Gender's new mural for International Women's Day

We are really excited to have commissioned Zoe Gender's, brilliant artist and long time pal of DINA, to do a mural outside our new space on Fitzalan Square as part of our You Don't Own Me festival and to celebrate International Women's Day.

Photo by Shelley Richmond

If anyone's near the square do go and check it out! We asked Zoe a few questions about her work and practice -

1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you like painting murals? Hiya, I studied Art & Design at Chesterfield College in 1997, then moved to Brighton for a few years and then moved back up north and studied as a mature student in 2009 - I did an MArt, a bit like an MA - in Animation, specialising in Stop-Motion at Sheffield Hallam University. I graduated with a First in 2013.

I make playful intricate sculptural pieces, mostly from paper and I paint large scale paint murals - an example of size differences would be, an insect under 3 inches long and a mural over 10 metres long.

The sculptural work I make is on a very small scale, creating little worlds and creatures; I like the craftsmanship of making, choosing which colours work, cutting tiny bits of paper, understanding the engineering and how I will put the pieces together.

In contrast to this fine introverted work, I love to paint large scale murals, be visible, interact with the public.

The freedom of painting big and bold after working small gives me a buzz, but the focus is similar. I find the process quite meditative on both counts. An extroverted introvert I believe.

2) Do you have any favourite female artists or activists you admire? Some favourite Female Artists would be: My friend and original mentor Artist Jo Peel, for starting me on my mural journey and being a solid source of encouragement and advice. Artist Kate Banazi, whose work is astoundingly beautiful. Producer and Composer Hannah Peel, the album 'Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia' is one of my faves.. and for consistently pushing forward with combining Learning in Arts and Engineering in Sheffield (and further afield) Kisha Bradley of Bright Box Makerspace.

Zoe applying the finishing touches!

3) What's your inspiration for the mural design?

Style-wise it's a bit different to the images I usually design, DINA holds a big place in my heart so when I was asked to do a piece I was really chuffed. We had a discussion about what we felt would be good for the new venue and the Festival and I went away and had a play with ideas. I felt like it was important to demonstrate togetherness, and the vibrancy of our city. Life has been pretty wonky for the last year and I think showing some love and kindness to fellow humans is the way forward - hopefully the mural will encourage that.

You Don't Own Me: Tales of Resistance is running from 6th - 13th March, tickets can be purchased through this link.

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