Public artist Martin Firrell was appointed Clear Channel’s artist in residence in 2018. His first project, Power and Gender, will run across the UK until March 8.
“I believe men and woman regard power differently and I want to ‘open up the layers of that difference’ in front of the public,” Firrell says. “My residency with Clear Channel makes that possible. If you can create debate, eventually change will follow.”
The project features six quotes from female business leaders and politicians such as Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyd’s Insurance market, Liv Garfield, CEO Severn Trent and the youngest women to head a FTSE 100 company and former Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short. In contrast, six more quotes regarding the nature of masculinity come from a variety of sources – including that paragon of machismo, Burt Reynolds.
All are designed to address two central questions: Do women understand, hold and use power differently from men? And, what can be learned from the experiences of women in positions of power that might contribute to a happier and more benign use of power in society?
Given the response to Gillette’s recent attempt to use advertising channels to address the nature of masculinity today, it will be interesting to see if Firrell’s work will trigger a similarly visceral response.