Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts


The Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945, is the first major survey of post-war British sculpture by women. Spanning more than seventy years and exploring the work of fifty sculptors, the exhibition provides a redress to the many accounts of British sculpture that have marginalised women or airbrushed their work out of art history altogether.

Breaking the Mould opened at the Djanogly Gallery in September. Here is a taster of the work of six great women artists represented in the exhibition.



Kim Lim was born in Singapore and had a successful career as a sculptor and printmaker in the UK. In her early life she took a particular interest in woodcarving and printmaking. 

Inspired by basic rhythmic forms and structures, her abstract sculpture explored the relationship between nature and art. Lim was also inspired by the ‘essential strength’ she saw in the art of ancient civilizations. 

She identified this in architecture and artefacts encountered in East and South Asia as well as in Europe. During the 1980s, she turned increasingly to stone-carving, but continued to make prints and fill sketchbooks with drawings from nature.

I think sculpture should be silent and succinct; should confront you with a whole experience without having to be explored or analysed." Kim Lim

Images L-R: Kim Lim Untitled Relief, 1983 | an image of Kim Lim working on a sculpture | Kim Lim Samurai, 1961


(b. 1977)

Born in Bangladesh, Rana Begum lives and works in London.

Rana Begum’s work has a transformative quality that operates with space, light and form, blurring the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her sculpture has a great affinity with the built environment and uses repetitive geometric patterns found within western urban as well as traditional Islamic architecture. She imposes order and structure through her use of pre-formed industrial materials and transforms these with the application of striking colour.

When I produce an artwork I don't want it to be one static image, I want you to discover something each time." Rana Begum (Evening Standard Interview, 2018)

Images L-R: Rana Begum, No. 429 SFold, 2013 |an image of Rana Begum in front of her work | Rana Begum, No. 1048 Mesh, 2020



Gillian Lowndes began her career as a ceramicist and is notable for pushing her medium towards a more sculptural practice and thus breaking down barriers between fine art and craft. 

In the mid 1970s she turned away from using press-moulded casts towards hand-building processes in order to construct intricate basket-like pieces and complex architectural structures such as her work in the exhibition. Incorporating, for the first time, non-ceramic materials in her work, she experimented with string and fabric dipped in clay slip before firing. This turning point in her career was a legacy of time spent in Nigeria earlier in the decade when she came into contact with art that naturally combined different materials.

It is the methods and materials that produce the ideas, not the other way round" Gillian Lowndes

Images L-R: Gillian Lowndes, Untitled | an image of Gillian Lowndes at her first solo show, Bristol Guild 1963 | Gillian Lowndes Collage with Tomato Root, 1990



In the 1930s, Barbara Hepworth was a pioneering figure of the international art scene. Her work is characterised by the technique of direct carving into stone or wood. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, she and her family moved to St. Ives in Cornwall where she lived for the rest of her life. Before her death in 1975, she requested that her studio become a museum for all to enjoy. The Barbara Hepworth Studio and Sculpture Garden is still one of Cornwall’s most popular destinations.

Stone never surrenders to force." Barbara Hepworth

Images L-R: Barbara Hepworth Oval Form (Trezion), 1962-3 | an image of Barbara Hepworth working on a sculpture | Barbara Hepworth Oval Sculpture, 1943


(b. 1962)

Along with Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas was one of the so-called Young British Artists generation that came to public attention in the 1990s. Her work often includes bawdy humour and sexualized references to the body, sometimes employing food as a stand in for body parts. Lucas says that she uses her work as a vehicle for revealing sexism whilst not commenting overtly on it. She has stated that “I am not trying to solve the problem. I’m exploring the moral dilemma by incorporating it”.

Anytime you use something, no matter how disgusting, there has to be some pleasure in it [...] It’s about turning things around, really, and the realisation that looking at art is a self-conscious business." Sarah Lucas (ArtSpace interview with Massimiliano Gioni)

Images L-R: Sarah Lucas Au Naturel, 1994 | image of Sarah Lucas with one of her sculptures | Sarah Lucas NUD CYCLADIC 7, 2010.


(b. 1958)

Born in Buguma in Nigeria, Sokari Douglas Camp lives and works in London and has exhibited her work internationally. Her sculpture is made predominantly in steel and she is particularly skilled at cutting the metal to suggest patterned fabrics. She often takes inspiration from her Kalabari heritage and the figures in the exhibition were originally part of a much larger sculptural installation depicting a Kalabari masquerade festival.

I was not good at painting so I tried sculpture, as I liked putting my hand in my work." Sokari Douglas Camp (Independent interview with Karen Wright)

Images L-R: Sokari Douglas Camp Europe supported by Africa and America, 2015 | an image of Sokari Douglas Camp in work overalls with her sculptures | Sokari Douglas Camp Butterfly Head, 2011.

Top banner image: Jann Haworth Calendula's Cloak 1967.

If you have not visited Breaking the Mould yet you still have time:

An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition


Saturday 18 September – Sunday 9 January
Djanogly Gallery

Open Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-5pm
Sunday: 12noon-4pm
Closed on Mondays

Admission free, no booking required


A superb survey of post-war UK women's sculpture at The Djanogly Gallery." 
Audience Member