Intersect Portrait Project, exploring the female gaze on International Women’s Day

I am absolutely thrilled to be one of four artists selected to participate in the Intersect Portrait Project organised by the wonderful Sweet ‘ Art, to be held on 9th March 2019 at the Crabtree & Evelyn store in Islington.

This will be a collaborative live art event with three other artists - Shadi Mahsa, Odette Farrell and Susan Bryan. We will each spend a short time working on a portrait of a sitter, then move onto the next easel, thus creating an Intersectional portrait of each person. Further details of the event, with information on how to purchase a ticket to be one of our sitters can be found below.

I am particularly fascinated by this project, as it ties in closely with my current body of work, investigating both the female gaze and the idea of a #rhizomaticportrait.


Surrey Artists' Open Studios - 4 - 19 June 2016

After over a year of not having a studio, due to relocation and all my paints and paintings gathering dust in storage, I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in this year's Surrey Artists' Open Studios event, which runs between 4th - 19th June 2016. 

I will be opening my studio on a number of days during June, details to follow. In the meantime, please send me your details if you wish to be kept informed of upcoming events. 

Plenary session at "Talking Bodies" international, interdisciplinary conference

I recently attended the "Talking Bodies: Identity, Sexuality and Representation" international, interdisciplinary conference at the University of Chester. In collaboration with Anna McNay (Journalist), I delivered a plenary session entitled: "#EroticCensorship: The Case of Leena McCall’s Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing".  

A photo of the #talkingbodies2015 plenary session can be found courtesy of Emma Hutson below. 



Leyden Gallery to host end of Summer Salon #eroticcensorship evening

The Leyden Gallery will be hosting an evening event on Thursday 24th July from 18:30 - 21:00, inviting people who have joined in the Twitter #eroticcensorship debate to continue that discussion in a more intimate setting with a glass of wine and under the watchful eyes of "Ms Ruby May, Standing".

Leena McCall, the artist will be present and is keen to thank people who have supported her during this anti-censorship campaign, that resulted in her painting being re-hung at the Leyden Gallery.

Due to space limitations, the Gallery has asked that people RSVP by emailing

Further details can be found on the Leyden Gallery website


International Twitter debate #eroticcensorship leads to re-hang of ‘Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing’

Leena McCall is pleased to announce, a work of art that was removed from the Society of Women Artists’ 153rd annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, is to be exhibited at The Leyden Gallery, London.


The painting “Ms Ruby May, Standing’ was selected by the Society for Women Artists (SWA) for their 153rd annual exhibition and subsequently removed by the Mall Gallery for being deemed ‘too pornographic and disgusting’.

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#eroticcensorship: a letter from Louise-Kate Allum on 'Ms Ruby May, Standing'

I have received a number of contacts since starting the #eroticcensorship debate. Here is a beautiful and poignant letter from Ms Louise-Kate Allum. I wanted to share her words with a wider audience. Thank you Louise!


Subject: Ms Ruby May, Standing

Message: I am writing to express my gratitude to you for painting 'Ms Ruby May, Standing'.

It is the most poignant and empowering work I can recall ever seeing. 

The effect this powerful painting has had on me is nothing short of inspiring and I have fallen in love with both the execution and important statement it makes. 

I consider myself to be a strong, sexual and independent woman, free of any concern of how I am regarded through male eyes. I am blown away by your perfect representation of the true force of female sexuality.

To encapsulate, beauty, grace and strength on a canvas the way you have has invoked a very deep sense of female pride within me. 

Thank you again for creating such an important work and for aiding the deeply necessary transition in society for women to be confident and own their sexuality; to know their sexual worth is within themselves and not through the eyes of others. We are women. We are sexual. We will not be ashamed. We are proud. We are Ms.Ruby May.

Let the galleries resist this message that society is so threatened by as we are moving forward and they only serve to prove how media forms would rather exploit the female form than allow us to embrace our own.
We will prevail, they will not take our power - it's ours to give and we will not give it.

Thank you on behalf of women everywhere.

Where words fail, art is heard.

#eroticcensorship - The Mall Galleries responds

Thanks to Nicci Talbot ( for posting the response she has received from the Mall Galleries on Facebook

It opens up a number of questions:

1. Why did the Mall Galleries not simply have the painting moved to a less prominent spot in the gallery?

2. Why is it ok to replace "Portrait of Ms Ruby May, standing" with a nude by another artist? 

3. What is it about the painting that is seen as a threat to children/vulnerable adults?

4. Would the Society for Women Artists like to respond to this press release?

Please join the debate on Facebook and Twitter #eroticcensorship @mallgalleries @SWAInfo @msmccall




·      The painting by Leena McCall was hung in an exhibition organised, selected and funded by the Society of Women Artists, who havehired the Mall Galleries (run by the Federation of British Artists) for their annual exhibition.

·      The Mall Galleries played no part in its selection or hanging.

·      As an educational arts charity, the Federation has a responsibility to its Trustees and to the children and vulnerable adults who use its Galleries and Learning Centre. After a number of complaints regarding the depiction of the subject and taking account of its location en route for children to our Learning Centre, we requested the painting was removed.  The Society of Women Artists made no objection and replaced it with another painting, also depicting a female nude.

Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists

SWA Private View today

I attended the SWA Private View today at the Mall Galleries. Here's a little snapshot of the painting in situ. Show runs until 5th July. 

Portrait of Ms Ruby May, standing on show at the Mall Galleries, London until 5th July

Upcoming exhibition - Sweet Art

I will be exhibiting at the Sweet Art Show No. 1 in support of International Women's Day from 8th - 14th March. The exhibition will be held at the Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Parish Church, Euston Road, London.

If you wish to attend the private view on Friday 8th March (6 - 9pm), please rsvp to Details of the exhibition can be found on their website.


Next exhibition: Face-to-Face, An exhibition exploring portraiture

Portrait of Ms Ruby May, 2012

Portrait of Ms Ruby May, 2012

My new portrait of Ms Ruby May, will be on show at the Espacio Gallery in London from 27th September to 2nd October. The exhibition is a group show titled:

Face-to-Face, An exhibition exploring portraiture

Everyone is welcome to attend the private view on Thursday 27th September from 6-9pm. Details can be found on the gallery's website.

Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG

Open Daily from 1-7pm including weekends. Closed on Wednesdays.

Next exhibition: 'LUST' at Chinawhite on 15th & 16th February

Leena McCall's paintings will be on show at Chinawhite in London this week. Jason Bradbury is organising a group show of erotic artists entitled 'LUST'. There will be two private views at the exclusive Mayfair club. If you are interested in attending, please rsvp to I look forward to seeing you there on the 15th and 16th February!


Art Erotica Exhibition: Winner of the visitors' choice award

A week after the inaugural Art Erotica Exhibition ended, the organiser of the event, Kathryn Roberts, announced on their website that my portrait of the deliciously sexy Ms Ruby May had also won the Visitors' Choice award of £500.

Many thanks to all those who voted for my painting. It serves as great encouragement to continue painting my erotic portaits of women. You can still buy the exhibition posters directly from the Art Erotica website (click on the image above).

Here are some reviews of the show. Looking forward to attending next year's event!

'Ms Ruby May by Leena McCall',

'Art Erotica raises brows in Mayfair',

'Visible to the naked Eye: Art Erotica 2012', Now.Here.This. Time Out London

'First Art Erotica exhibition ends with promise of more to come',

'Art Erotica Exhibition', Miss Player

Shortlisted for the Art Erotica Exhibition, London

My portrait of Ms Ruby May has been shortlisted for the inaugural Art Erotica Exhibition, taking place 19–27 January 2012 in the Gallery in Cork Street, 28 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG. The painting has also been selected for the exhibition poster, see below.

The ticketed private view will take place on Wednesday 18th January 7-9pm, followed by an after party at Chinawhite in Fitzrovia. There is an artists' reception on 25th January and a number of talks and discussions will be held throughout the exhibition.

Open studio weekend - 25th - 27th November 2011

I will be participating in the ASC Open Studio weekends in November 2011. My studio is located in Erlang House, 128 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8EQ

Opening Hours: Saturday 26 November 2011, 12.00-6.00 pm
Private View: Friday 25 November, 6.00-9.00 pm
Transport: 3 mins from Southwark tube

Please let me know if you would like to come to the private view on Friday evening or join us over the weekend.