Women Soldiers

Women Soldiers was first screened at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, UK in 1982.

Women Soldiers addresses several feminist issues. The main theme of the video is the role of women in the military forces but it is also a starting point for Shemilt to widen her prospective to a more general critique of how women are represented by media and society and their role and status.

The viewer is guided in this reflection by several voice-over traces. The first is a script pillaged by Shemilt from a military recruitment campaign and read by her friend the artist June Raby, which with subtle irony and a critical approach describes the ‘requirements’ for an unspecified job (that from the images and the title the viewer can assume is in the army). A second sound track is a fake infomercial about skin rejuvenation, read by a male performer. Shemilt also employs some sound recordings of bombing in Beirut from 1981.

These issues are also addressed through the use of a series of photographs shot by Shemilt at a British army training camp and of the military paraphernalia (including weapons and gas masks), photo-documentation and prints from Shemilt’s performances, and images from beauty products’ commercial adverts.

The use of strong dramatic imaginary and the sound of shooting are a clear appeal of the artist for peace.

©2016 European Women’s Video Art

http://www.ewva.ac.uk/shemilt-works.html

Elaine Shemilt
‘Women Soldiers’
Video Still
Videotape 3/4″ U-Matic
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Government Property, Prohibited Place’
Lithograph and Screenprint
Edition of 10
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Women Soldiers’
Video Still
Videotape 3/4″ U-Matic
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Women Soldiers’
Video Still
Videotape 3/4″ U-Matic
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Women Soldiers’
Positive Photographic Film, used for ‘Women Soldiers’
Videotape 3/4″ U-Matic
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Women Soldiers’
Video Still
Videotape 3/4″ U-Matic
1982
© Elaine Shemilt

Elaine Shemilt
‘Bullets and Lipstick’
Photograph
Edition of 1
1982
© Elaine Shemilt