Photographer transforms Christine Keeler images in new display highlighting a life of abuse
Re-imagined photos of model Christine Keeler, whose role in the infamous Profumo affair brought down a government, are to go on private display on the site of the Soho nightclub at the heart of the scandal.
Photographer Joe Leslie wants to ‘reframe’ the iconic showgirl, 60 years on from when a notorious series of events first unfolded in Wardour Street jazz bar the Flamingo Club.
Included in the invite-only viewing is a reworking of Christine posing on a back-to-front Arne Jacobsen chair, which has remained one of the most enduring symbols of the era.
Remembering Christine is being held on Thursday, October 27 and will support Women’s Aid.
Joe said: “My work aims to posthumously photographically reframe Christine Keeler, a woman castigated for her role in a notorious political scandal.
“The Profumo Affair was a watershed moment in British cultural and political history that brought down the government of the time. But away from the headlines, Christine was a victim of abuse, not only sadly, within her family but also by powerful men.
“Christine is still a significant figure in British history yet there is minimal new and exciting artistic reference to her. I wanted to readdress that by creating a visual record of her life, with reinvented iconic images representing themes relevant to newer generations.
“I believe I’m pushing the visual boundaries of showcasing old photographs. This is a collection of edgy and vibrant reinvented images.
“The exhibition will be an exciting opportunity to create a visual conversation within the community. It will be fascinating to observe the visual flow and share reactions and insights.
“Getting this off the ground has not been easy. I want to bring funds and awareness for Women’s Aid. I have reached out to so many high-profile campaigners and celebrities but never got a reply.
“The main reason for my creating the Remembering Christine photo exhibition is to implement a platform for raising awareness and funds for domestic abuse.
“I chose Christine Keeler as the subject as there is still media interest in her story, as well as her having suffered mental and physical abuse.”
Dawn Connelly, fundraising manager at Women’s Aid, said: “We are so grateful to Joe Leslie for raising awareness of domestic abuse through his exhibition and choosing to donate the profits to Women’s Aid. Donations such as these are so important in helping us continue our work to support survivors of domestic abuse and campaign to make the world a safer place for women and children.”
Joe is the founder of Cockney Pride, a community interest organisation, helping young disadvantaged communities, including ex-offenders, unemployed, mental health issues and one-parent families.
He added: “Backing has been hard to find. Why is it that when a male speaks out against mental and physical abuse hurdles become harder to jump? It’s been really soul-destroying.
“It’s interesting for me as a man to see how this has been received. Women’s Aid have kindly supported me, also having kept Christine’s estate updated has been a great help.”
The once infamous Flamingo Club where Christine’s previous boyfriends Johnny Edgecombe and Lucky Gordon fought in October 1962, sparking a chain of events that ended the then Conservative government’s reign, is now an events space that’s available to hire.
The main Remembering Christine exhibition will be held in June 2023. It marks the 60th anniversary of when John Profumo resigned from his position as Secretary of State for War following revelations that he lied to the House of Commons about his affair with Christine Keeler.
The invitation-only private viewing of Remembering Christine photographic exhibition is at the Flamingo Room on Thursday, October 27in London’s Soho from 1 pm 4.00pm.
Anyone who would like to receive an invitation, which are very limited, should follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-viewing-showcasing-reinvented-iconic-images-of-christine-keeler-tickets-395930307207 or email Joe at [email protected]