Painting BA (hons)

Megan Ajioka


Photographic prints, glass bowl, cloth

In a patriarchal world, this piece aims to celebrate the literary achievements of women in a way that does not conform to masculine traditions. Left to right, order and repetition – all these concepts we take for granted in books have been challenged.

The images that investigate the “woman”, are no longer constrained by coverings and binds. They are free to create their own narrative, on their own terms. 


Source material

Helen C. Black, Notable Women Authors of the Day, (Glasgow, 1893)
DiscoverEd URL

Shelf mark

Special Collections: R*.5.54

Megan Ajioka

Portrait & interview

1. What was it about this project and brief that originally appealed to you?

I thought the challenge of being able to interpret a ‘book’ in an artistic sense sounded really interesting. I have always been interested in the way we perceive knowledge and how that relates to the way we engage with a piece of artwork.

2. What was your approach in searching for material that you wanted to work with?

A lot of my work centres around identity, particularly that of a female. I therefore was interested in the way gender influences literature and the formalities of libraries and intellectualism. I was consequently drawn to one of the few books I could find by a female author, Helen C. Black. 

3. Did you find anything about the project challenging?

I was conscious of formatting my book in a thought provoking way but still make something that would fit the requirements of the exhibition (i.e showcasing it a cabinet).

4. What unexpected discoveries did you make during your research? 

How much of the format of a book we take for granted. Why does a book have to be left to right? Why must there be order in a book?

5. How has this project had impact on your art practice?

This project has encouraged me to think about the gendered structures that exist in the way we perceive knowledge.

6. Did your final output end up as you’d envisaged?

No! I experimented as I went along. The outcome came by playing around with the images in different juxtapositions and seeing what format worked best.

7. What advice would you give to someone doing this project next year?

Challenge the definition of the word ‘book’.

Copyright & open licence

Copyright © Megan Ajioka, The University of Edinburgh 2020 CC BY-SA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CC BY-SA license