In 1909, in response to increasing physical abuse by the police and opponents to their campaign for women’s right to vote, Edith Garrud began training the suffragettes in self-defence. Eventually she set up The Suffragette Bodyguard Unit, also called The Amazons or The Suffrajitsu by the press, dedicated to protecting Mrs Pankhurst and the other leaders of the movement from arrest and assault. Artists Deborah Tchoudjinoff, Garth Gratrix, Hatty Buchanan, Iain Hales, Jillian Knipe, and Laura Moreton-Griffiths have been invited to join Cecilia Sjoholm to address questions such as: can we be our own bodyguards? To what level are we willing to make sacrifices? Do we fight openly in public, or do we use smokescreens and camouflage as a means of survival? Presenting work across a range of media with writing, the exhibition also interrogates the relationship between the private and the public.
Curated by Cecilia Sjoholm. With thanks to Harold Offeh and Morgan Quaintance for guidance. Catalogue essay by Chris Fite-Wassalik. Supported by Arts Council England.