An innovative new way of creatively celebrating modern women icons

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Char Ellesse

People are complex beings – especially those who are hailed as "modern female icons" – we might think we get what we do, but a brief bio and single portrait photo never tell the full story.

This is partly what makes the work of artist Samantha Louise Emery in her new multimedia portrait series IKONA \ Wise Women; which aims to "shine a fresh light on the fluidity of female solidarity and divine interconnectedness".

The series will be showcased in London during October this year, and expands on Emery's previous IKONA projects, including a show that exhibited Jane Goodall and Germaine Greer in the Exibit Here space at the Bargehouse in the Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s South Bank in November 2019; as well as at The Other Art Fair in 2019 which included IKONA being exhibited for two weeks in an Art Below poster inside London Regent’s Park Tube Station.

It will feature "ten modern female trailblazers", each of which began life when the artist met each woman in person. Emery, who splits her time between the UK and Bodrum, Turkey, works across a number of techniques in her practice, having completed her Ceramic and Design degree at Central Saint Martins in 1993. The year before that, she was awarded at the Young People's Film & Video Festival for her short film Night Shift, inspired by the work of Sylvia Plath. She then moved to Canada and exhibited painting across Toronto and New York.

The artist is currently at the stage of the IKONA project process in which she's busy weaving her subjects' multi-layered narratives and diverse stories onto canvas using an amalgam of photo-compositing, hand embroidery and brush paint. The aim of each piece is "to create portrayals that are as complex and powerful" as the women featured and "translate their unique feminine auras and wisdom into her original artworks."

The 10 chosen subjects in Emery’s new IKONA series are Andrea Luka Zimmerman, artist and cultural activist; Asieh Amini, award-winning Iranian poet and journalist; Kathryn Kemp-Griffin, women's advocate, entrepreneur and author; Özge Borak, Turkish actress; Char Ellesse, Instagram sensation and entrepreneur; Andrea McLean, Scottish journalist and author; The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada; Marianne McKenna, distinguished Canadian architect; Tara Westover, best-selling American author, and Emma Frank – musician and singer-songwriter.

Ten per cent of revenues from the sale of the IKONA \ Wise Women portraits will go to the charity of each woman's choice.

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Emma Frank ©Shervin Laine

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Emma Frank ©Shervin Laine

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Adrienne Clarkson

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Adrienne Clarkson

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Tara Westover

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Tara Westover

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Artist Samantha Louise Emery © Colin Gaudet

Wise Women by Samantha Louise Emery, Artist Samantha Louise Emery © Colin Gaudet