Monica Sjöö

Monica Sjöö, (December 31, 1938 – August 8, 2005), was a Swedish painter, writer and a radical anarcho/eco-feminist who was influential in the Goddess movement. She first came to Britain in the late 1950s, and eventually settled in Bristol where she lived for many years, but she also kept a home in Wales. She died of cancer in 2005, aged 66.

Early in her career Monica’s work often courted controversy. Her most famous painting God Giving Birth (1968), which depicts a woman giving birth, was seized by the authorities on several occasions for its alleged obscenity.

Her most well known written works are The Great Cosmic Mother (with Barbara Mor) and New Age and Armageddon, which was highly critical of the appropriation of indigenous spiritualities by the New Age Movement in the 1980s.

The Feminist Archive South is lucky enough to have a substantial collection of Monica’s papers which includes information about her involvement in the Bristol women’s movement from its inception, to the days of the radical spirituality group Amu Mawu in the 1990s.

Contents of the Monica Sjoo papers

Contents of the Monica Sjoo papers

The collection, which is full to the brim with articles, drafts and activist ephemera captures the dedication and vigour with which Monica approached life, and are a vital resource for anyone interested in the relationship between art, politics and spirituality, and the history of feminist activism in Bristol.

If you want some personal impressions of Monica Sjöö from her friends you can read this obituary published in the Guardian by Pat VT West.

Ros Beauhill (a.k.a. ‘witchy Ros’) wrote this moving tribute to Monica as part of the Sistershow Revisited exhibition.

You can read fellow activist witch Starhawk’s tribute here.

If you want to view images of Monica’s work please click here.

Monica Sjoo stands in front of her painting

                           Monica in 1973-1974

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