Heidi Wigmore Artist

London, UK

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My practice is drawing-based; the impulse of the work is to challenge, resist and subvert cultural norms of female experience.

Alongside studio-based works on paper, the drawing extends to installation inside/on to buildings and structures, and large scale banners and billboards as public artworks. I like to exploit the transformative potential of the drawn image in outdoor space for its performative and participatory possibilities.

I use drawing for its directness and immediacy, for me, drawing is always ‘live’. Dynamic, autonomous female figures have always been prominent in my work: I have had privileged access to world-class dancers at English National Ballet and to the East London Strippers Collective. The contemporary visceral bodies of the strippers, pole dancers and Shibari performers I’ve drawn from life have much in common with the classically trained dancers – all make use of repetitive, ritualized, ‘codified’ gestures and are supremely self-confident in expressing themselves through the strengthened female body. 

I also explore the illusory aspects of drawing, working directly on to found objects including spoons, shoes and gloves, symbolic objects of the feminine made into personal relics. I’m interested in how the ‘lifeless’ can seem to be made ‘live’.

I have often used the doll or mannequin as a metaphor for alienation or control – these objects are silently compliant but exert a vital presence in my work. They may also function as secular ‘i-dols’ – in that they are lifelike, yet lifeless, realistic yet unreal. I grew up with a fascination for the Germanic ‘Romantic Grotesque’ with its tradition of dolls as human substitutes in the literary imagination, where the dummy seems to reflect back to us the fallibility of the human condition.

I have over 20 years experience as a Fine Art educator, informed by my role as an artist and the diversity of my work experience including gallery based education and the particular challenge of prison education. I am Artist Workshop Leader with English National Ballet and Foundation Diploma Fine Art pathway leader at the City Lit in London.

Recent freelance projects include a Suffragette banner commission for ‘Procession’ a national mass-participation event as part of ’14-18 Now’, ‘Lines of Thought’ with The British Museum and ‘History of the Hoo Peninsula’ with the writer Rachel Lictenstein (Rodinsky’s Room, On Brick Lane). Public art commissions include ‘Mind Control Tower’ for Estuary 2016, Independent Free State’ as part of the cultural Olympiad 2012 and artist beach huts for the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain at the Southbank Centre.

I’m interested in risk and resourcefulness, trajectories rather than arrivals: a spirit of endeavour permeates my work and my life. I am well travelled, having made a number of long term solo trips through Asia and Central America and have lived and worked in France, The Virgin Islands and Taiwan. I have documented these experiences in two books: ‘Skin, Ribs and Hips’ and ‘Wanderlust: a Travel Sketchbook’.


2001 University of East London: MA Fine Art
1998 University of Greenwich: PGCE
1985 Norwich School of Art: BA hons Graphics (Drawing/Printmaking)


2022 Dreamhaus: Public film screening Focal Point Gallery

2021 Women Making History: Suffragette Banners London Scottish House Westminster

2019 British Textile Biennale: Suffragette Banners
The Ghost Tide: Thames-Side Gallery
Rethinking the Menopause: ARB Cambridge University
Things: Tamara Projects 310 New Cross Road
Procession Suffragette Banners: Spill Festival
Dummy: Artist Residency METAL
Histories of the Hoo Peninsula: Whitstable Biennial
Turner Prize Drawing Workshop: Ferens Gallery Hull
Lines of Thought: Artist workshops British Museum, University of Hull
Something Blue: Cultivate Gallery
Platform 15: Leydon Gallery
Mind Control Tower: Installation Estuary Festival Commission
The Dance Within Us: Live Drawing Workshop Tate Liverpool, ENB
Anti-Fashionistas: Installation and drawing event Village Green Festival METAL
The Big Painting Challenge: Specialist contributor BBC (broadcast 15/3/2015)
Changing Room: Solo show Shout Media
Draw 14: Society of Graphic Fine Art Mernier Gallery
The Discerning Eye: The Mall Galleries
The Contortionists: Installation Village Green Festival
On the Line: METAL
What the Doll Saw: Installation TAP Gallery
Look the Doll in the Eye: Essex Arts Grant
LifeCycle: Participatory project funded by European Cycling Friendly Cities
Play Southend: Drawing digital game project, contributing artist
Switch Ideas Lab Pacitti Company: Participating artist
INDEPENDENT FREE STATE: Arts Council England Award
CultureLab Protest and Propaganda:
Participating artist Metal
Artist Residency:
British Virgin Islands
End of Term Festival: Project Manager/Curator
Festival of Britain 60th Anniversary: 
Customised Beach Huts Commissioned Artist Southbank Centre 
WOW Festival ‘Superstrumps’:
Female stereotypes project Southbank Centre 
Womans Hour Radio 4 ‘Superstrumps’: 
live launch 13.3.11
This is Not a School: ‘Glittering Prize and Punishment’ Five Years
The Real Strumps Solo Show: White Wall Space
Deconstruction Project: Homeless Gallery
Neopolitan Festival of Britain: Southbank Centre
Pier: AVA Gallery University of East London
Showflat: The von Heil Haus Commission METAL
Cover Versions:
Village Green Festival METAL
Drawing performance Five Years
Artist Curator Group show Synchro Studios Leigh-on-Sea
Subject to Recall:
Curator Site specific group show – Southend Museum
Lecture Hall FREE SCHOOL: Five Years Gallery
Making it/Faking it: Orleans House Gallery
Cliffhanger: Synchro Studio Leigh-on-Sea
Assessment Criterion: Campus Gallery South Essex College
15 Artists 15 Days: Firstsite
As Crows Fly: Coexist Gallery
Sideshow: Village Green Festival METAL
2008 Love: Faux Gallery
Project Lulu: METAL
2005 Line: Campus Gallery South Essex College
2004 Its a Beautiful Noise: Synchro Studios
2003 A Room with a View: Atelier Gallery
2001 Last Chance Saloon: East London Gallery
2000 Blush: Underwood St Gallery
1999 On the Shelf: Firstsite
1998 Studio in a Square: Firstsite
1992 Pullit 2: Camden Lock
1990-92 Cooltan
1988-92 Cable St Studios
1989 Portobello Open
1988 ‘Earth Songs’ Young Unknowns


2020 Evening Standard ‘Women Making History’ book publication
Curatorspace ‘Lockdown Series’
2018 GHostings.co.uk
The Guardian: Suffragette Artist Banners
2017 Scenario: Collaborators and Hecklers – Performative Pedagogy and Interruptive Processes
2016 Review of ‘Mind Control Tower’ Estuary Festival Vice.com
2013 Interview re Superstrumps ’Imaginations’ – Journal of Cross Cultural Image Studies
The Guardian 11.7.13 On the Line: Creating a museum of the Thames Estuary
2012 This is Not a School: Five Years Gallery http://www.fiveyears.org.uk/thisisnotaschool/THIS%20IS%20NOT%20A%20SCHOOL/PROGRAMME/slots/14/14.html
2011 Womans Hour Radio 4 ‘Superstrumps’ live launch 13.3.11
Showflat: Metal Book Edition
The Times Art/Architecture Supplement 23.4.11
The Sabotage Times: April 2011
Oh Comely Magazine: May 2011
a-n Magazine: May issue Review- Scintilla, Coexist Gallery
Level 4 Magazine: Review- Showflat solo show
2010 Level 4 Magazine: Interview- Showflat solo show
Corporeal: Catalogue introduction Campus Gallery Southend in Sea
15 Artists 15 Days: Documentation of residency First Site Colchester
2008 DIY Portfolio Building for Fine Art: University of Essex/The Creative Way
The Guardian Weekend: creative writing commission
2007 ARTUNEED: A Manifesto for the Public Realm- Bob and Roberta Smith, Commissions East


2021 Arts Council England Developing Your Artistic Practice Grant: ‘Totems of Hope’

Sid Gentle Films Ltd Netflix series ‘Ragdoll’ set artwork

2018 Mainstreet Pictures BBC series ‘Goldigger’ set artwork
Artichoke, 14-18 Now Artist Commission Procession Suffragette Banners
2016 Estuary Festival Artist Commission Mind Control Tower multi-media installation
2014 Outdoor Media Ltd Sponsorship ‘The Contortionists’ Village Green Festival
2013 METAL Artist Commission ‘On the Line’
2013 Essex County Council Artist Grant ‘What The Doll Saw’
2012 Arts Council England ‘Independent Free State’
2012 BBC  ‘Eastenders’ and CBBS ‘Get Well Soon’ set artwork
2011 Southbank Centre WOW Festival Commission ‘Superstrumps’
2011  Southbank Centre Festival of Britain Commission Shell Grotto
2010  Artinsite Permanent lightbox installation Southend University Hospital Oncology Dept
2007-2010  Redbee Media BBC  set artwork


2019- 20 The Royal Academy: Artist Workshop Leader
2015-current The City Lit: Coordinator Fine Art, Foundation tutor
2016-17 Whitstable Biennale: Histories of the Hoo Peninsula Artist Project manager
2016 Estuary Festival: Sound of the Thames Delta: Project manager
2012-current English National Ballet: Artist workshop leader
2012-2016 Anglia Ruskin University: Visiting Drawing Lecturer
2012-2017Arts Council England: Artistic Quality Assessor
2011-current METAL: Artist Workshop Leader
2011METAL: ’End of Term’ Arts Festival: Project Manager
2001-10South Essex College: Course Leader/Lecturer BA hons Fine Art,
Foundation Diploma
2004-11  Focal Point Gallery: Artist workshop leader
2004-05  HMP Bullwood Hall: Artist workshop leader
2000 -current Synchro Studios: Co-founder, Chairperson