The British artist Ruth Bircham grew up in Stoke on Trent, and studied Fine Art and Combined Media at Croydon College from 2001 to 2005. Citing the most important influences on her art as Renaissance, Impressionist, Abstract Realism and Corporeality, her trademark paintings often feature close-up studies of the naked human body, with an emphasis on the ‘forbidden fruit’ of breasts and genitals. She is also firmly rooted in her Nigerian heritage, explaining that as a black woman she celebrates black history, but that history cannot dictate her work: ‘Our hands may once have been in chains, but we must not let our mind still be in chains.’
After completing her studies in 2005, she collaborated with two other artists from Nigeria, Adetayo Shoyemi and Ayoola Odupitan, and in February 2009 as part of a group called ‘kreative minds’ curated an exhibition titled ‘Exploitation of the Internal Mind’, which was shown at Terrakulture, Victoria Island, Nigeria. The group then brought the exhibition back to London. She has since had her work shown in a number of exhibitions, including Forbidden Fruit at the Gallery on Cork Street in 2011, the Bargehouse Gallery in 2013, and the Strand Gallery and Sexhibition in 2015.
Together with fellow artists Titus Agbara, Edward Ofosu and Shallman Quarshie, Ruth Bircham has been active in bringing together a group of artists under the umbrella Erotica, supporting each other in organising exhibitions and experimenting with erotic art. She has also collaborated with Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju on a book project, Vagina Mysticism and the Erotic Art of Ruth Bircham, which explores the body of thought and practice in Hinduism and Buddhism known as Tantra, expanding the scope of vagina symbolism in the classic Yoni Tantra.
Ruth Bircham’s website can be found here.
We would like to thank our Russian friend and contributor Yuri for introducing us to the work of this artist and supplying many of the images.