Art by Marilyn Rogers

Meet the Maker: Marilyn Rogers

Marilyn Rogers is an artist who lives and works in Brixton. Trained as a fine artist/sculptor and having taught in Adult Colleges, Marilyn Rogers believes that creativity is for everyone. Making inclusive, accessible art and creative writing together, for all the communities we live in, is her motto.

Tell us about your creative practice…

I started as a trained sculptor which led on to being part of a studio later when I had my children, I worked with groups at Brixton Artists Collective to curate and produce art and installations. At Women’s Work group, with which I curated and produced some 15 exhibitions, we were peer trained to make a video ‘Women in View’. In the early 80’s I had group exhibitions in Britain Camden Art Centre, Whitworth Gallery and Glyn Vivian and one-woman shows in Brixton’s The Gallery, Acre lane and studio group shows at Stockwell Depot. Latterly, I developed Community arts practice alongside teaching Art, Sculpture, and we ‘Liberated life drawing’.

Now I mainly work co-producing and developing community projects ‘e.g. ‘Local Heroes initiative’ at Brixton Library and continue my own artwork in: Pastel and collage at a studio here and in West Wales, near where my family lived. I paint where I am and what I see: in Wales its landscape, in London its regeneration and development.

What motivated you to follow a creative career?

I had a facility and love for art nature. Not having a family background, I was the first to go to college, through a personal desire to explore the World. I was creative in everything and didn’t follow a pattern in life, I created my own.

Who have you been inspired and influenced by?

Sculpture inspired me, other friends introduced me to architecture and books.
Womens’ art and feminism; Rita Keegan Francoise Dupre Roxane Permar, Indra Khanna, Kate Walker, Teri Bullen and Yoko Terauchi. Bruna Fonda and Sue Heyer, Gail Pearce and Jini Rawlings. All are strong women who have made a: ‘Creative life for themselves and others.’

What have you found most challenging in developing your work?

Ambition is beyond mere facility struggle to create and is achieved by giving total commitment to the process. Belief in self needs nurturing to enable myself to have funds, space and a ‘market-place’ to show my work.

Have a little boast – what are you really proud of yourself for achieving? Give us some highlights.

  • Support for ‘Womens Work’ Arts Collective on the executive 1983-1990
  • And Brixton Arts Collective’s the ‘Reactivating the Archive – Brixton Calling’ Art Gallery project bringing the key messages of inclusion and diversity to the arts.
  • 2000 Millennium Award setting up a Lambeth Adult Education, NHS, Social Work network ‘Muse Project’ to enable more Adult courses for people with mental health support needs
  • Earlier: Exhibiting in Young Contemporaries,
  • A one-person exhibition project, ‘Hiraeth’ which I took back to South Wales with support from South Wales Arts.
    -My study at the Royal Academy of Art, making long-time friends of artists and workers there.
  • My MA in Museum Arts Heritage later in life.
  • Working in and for my community in life and politics.
  • I curated with a radical midwife Juliet Breschinsky an art exhibition ’Art of Birth’.

What would lead your manifesto vision of the future for wom+n?

Health and Well-being as artists requires support and enthusiasm of other wom+n to make it happen.
Women’s work ‘2 years in the life of a Women’s Art Collective’ showed then the same struggle wom+n face today. Can we do it all by ourselves? No, we need our partners and supportive friends.

Give us one piece of wisdom for young creatives in the current climate?

Keep on making, being creative in small and big ways. Never dismiss what you are and can achieve.

How can creativity change the world right NOW?

Using our creativity through communities working alongside one another.

Finally, what does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Wom+n coming together to share our creativity with each other and make whole. I have contributed for more than 30 years to the International Women’s Day celebrations. It is important to recognise in small or big ways.

I was on the plinth in Trafalgar Square for ‘One and Other’, the Anthony Gormley’s project. For One hour only I was the “Tomb of the Unknown woman Artist!”. It was a hot and very wet day in June. The art piece was live streamed and recordings are held by British Library Archive. I walked along the 6ft length, I had a sheet I unravelled as I moved, it rained so I actually transformed into a sculpture draped with flowing wet cloth. I read performed women poets work, mentioned 100 women artists who should be remembered and generally had a great time. It reminded me of Kate walker’s similar artwork circa 1985 at Brixton Art Gallery.

View Marilyn’s Creative Profile here.

We all want to make it.
Make it in our chosen career. Maybe make it big.

Sometimes perhaps just make it to pay day.
But whatever our ambition, what unites us all is the desire to thrive, be recognised – and be supported.
And that’s what Lambeth’s Creative Enterprise Zone is all about. Supporting creative people to do amazing creative things without having to leave our amazingly creative corner of south London.
Because we all want to make it – of course – but more than that, we want to Make It in Brixton.