Centrefold: Talking Pictures: An artist in residence who has time for a spot of neighbourhood watch

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Since men first evolved the method of passing on their genes by creating lots of copies and scattering them wildly, and women invested in the internal nurturing of both sets of genes, men have had an advantage over women. The extra investment by the woman made her more inclined to ensure that the ensuing child was raised properly, while the man was required, if he felt like it, to return with some gory bounty once in a while.

These roles demanded physically strong men, and sensitive, versatile women. One theory is that human language evolved not through surly men planning their hunts, but by women gossiping in large groups. It is also likely that while the men were away hunting, it was women who sustained the group by inventing agriculture.

Ever since, women's inventions and achievements have been suppressed and denied by men. Even in art, women were pushed aside, despite the fact that art is about communication, something which women's brains have been proved, by (male) psychologists, to be better at than men's.

One such well-adapted artistic brain is that of Rose Garrard, an international award-winning artist who is currently listening to visitors to The South London Gallery. For her exhibition, 'Arenas for Conversation' (right), she has been constructing art works based on conversations with people who visit her. The work in progress has so far taken in the views of locals in Calgary, Vancouver and Manchester. Peckham is to inspire a fourth and final composition, acrylic on stiffened fabric. 'I get all types, psychiatrists, actors and married people. The majority of men want to talk about unemotional issues, whereas women want to share personal stories. But there are many amazing exceptions to that. . .

So if there's something that's been bothering you and you're tired of being ignored, go along to the South London Gallery and tell Rose Garrard; it may just make a difference.

Rose Garrard at The South London Gallery, from 2pm to 6pm, Tue-Sat, to 2 Sept, 65 Peckham Road, SE5; (071-703 6120); Oval then 36 bus, or Elephant and Castle then 12 or 171 bus

(Photograph omitted)