Socialist Worker

Identity: Eight rooms, nine lives

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2187

Eight rooms, nine lives is part of the Identity season at the Wellcome Collection. The exhibition is made of plywood rooms, all in different shapes and angles, with doorways you have to look for.

The rooms take in the stories of different people’s lives where identity has shaped their course.

One of the most interesting rooms is dedicated to the artist Claude Cahun, who lived in Jersey under Nazi occupation.

She challenged gender stereotypes – shaving her head and wearing trousers. She lived openly as a gay woman.

Her self-portraits are shown here, as are the leaflets she produced against the Nazis that they imprisoned her for.

One interesting room shows a collection of diaries, many from ordinary people found in house clearances, that document the lives of working class people in Britain and the US.

It’s a thought-provoking exhibition, well worth a look.

Wellcome Collection
Free, until 6 April


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Tue 2 Feb 2010, 19:19 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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