Claudia Clare is a potter, writer and feminist activist. In her artistic practice, she uses ceramics to tell stories which relate to contemporary social issues, such as feminism and nationalism.
Clare made Wedding Feast as a tribute to her old friend Rachel’s wedding to a Kosovan woman, Igo, during the Kosovo War (1989-99). It is celebration of female and lesbian emancipation, during a time of extreme suffering, violence and oppression. One of the plates depicts Rachel and Igo, while the other is dedicated to Igo’s mother. The central bowl is a patch-work of patterns from all over Europe to represent the diverse group of guests at the women’s ‘Wedding Feast’.
Remembering Atefeh is dedicated to a young Iranian girl named Atefeh Sahaaleh who was born in 1987. In 2004, she was sentenced to death and hanged for so-called ‘crimes against chastity’, aged 16. This ceramic piece was made by Claudia Clare with a group of Iranian friends, mostly refugees, both men and women. Claudia hand-build the pot, painting the inside as she went and including an image of Atefeh inside. It remains the only image of her – taken from her ID card. Once the pot was built, Claudia painted the outside and fired it for the first time. Claudia and her friends staged a performance-protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London, in August 2011 during which recited poetry, sang songs and smashed the pot. She then collected the shards and took them back to the studio for glazing. She left some pieces out so you can see the image of Atefeh inside. The edges of the gaps are picked out in gold to honour her life and brave attempts to fight the injustices she faced.