The suffragettes created a visual language of resistance through posters, pamphlets, banners, sashes, handkerchief-petitions and ceramic tableware. Many seemingly domestic objects became weapons of dissent and symbols for a societal revolution. On the 100-year anniversary of partial women’s suffrage in the UK, this exhibition of collaborative work draws upon the material histories of dis-obedient craft.
Alongside the aesthetics of protest the exhibition also responds to the history of anti-suffragette propaganda. In particular the use of animalistic imagery that has long been a method employed to oppress and degrade marginalised groups as lesser, other and sub- or non-human. Here the artists are reclaiming an old insult depicting women as cats; gathering together symbols of female power and resistance. Through craft techniques these works celebrate a radical past, acknowledge the continuing struggle for equal rights, and make a hopeful gesture toward a feminist future.
Juliet Fleming was born in London in 1991 and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is the Director of GOLDTAPPED, an artist-led initiative providing space for experimentation, development and support emerging artist practices.
Sarah-Joy Ford was born in Cheshire in 1993 and lives in Manchester. She is co-director of SEIZE Projects, Leeds, and the Queer Research Network Manchester.