Painting. Figures standing in different parts of a landscape, sorrounded by rocks in different sizes. Colors in blue, green, purple and yellow.

Monica Sjöö, Meeting the Ancestors at Avebury, 1993 © The Estate of Monica Sjöö. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Woman Magic


23.9 2023


How do surveillance and censorship relate to the role of feminism in art history? Hear the British researcher Amy Tobin in a lecture on spirituality and feminist policy based on Monica Sjöö’s artistic practice.

The artist Monica Sjöö (1938–2005) sought to challenge norms and prevailing ideas. From the very start, Sjöö’s works caused a stir, but she became startlingly aware of the power of her images when “God Giving Birth” (1968) was removed from an exhibition at Guildhall during the St Ives Art Weeks in 1970, and she was charged with blasphemy.

These experiences led her to the community of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s. In 1979, Monica Sjöö organised a touring group exhibition, “Woman Magic; Celebrating the Goddess Within Us”, which put women’s art in new contexts, with new audiences, far from the normative criteria for artistic value and success.

In her lecture, Amy Tobin discuss spirituality, women’s rights and censorship in art history, with Monica Sjöö’s cosmic feminism as her starting point.

Amy Tobin

Amy Tobin is an assistant professor at the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge. She is also the Curator of Contemporary Programmes at Kettle’s Yard and a Fellow of Newnham College. Her research is concerned with art and collaboration and feminism in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tobin co-authored the catalogue for the exhibition “Monica Sjöö: The Great Cosmic Mother”. Her coming book, “Women Artists Together: Art in the Age of Women’s Liberation” will be published by Yale University Press in autumn 2023.

Read more about Amy Tobin’s publications and exhibitions here: University of Cambridge

Målning av monica Sjöö
Monica Sjöö, God Giving Birth, 1968 Museum Anna Nordlander © The Estate of Monica Sjöö. Photo: Krister Hägglund / Skellefteå museum
Painting. Figures standing in a forest around a grail. Colors in blue, green, purple and yellow.
Monica Sjöö, Non’s Well – Holy Grail, 1996 © The Estate of Monica Sjöö. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet