Valentines Mansion is hosting an exhibition that pays homage to Women’s Suffrage and the centenary of the first generation of women being given the right to vote.
Taking place throughout August, the display explores the powerful subject of Women’s Suffrage and the differences between the militant actions of the suffragettes compared with the more peaceful, constitutional campaign methods of the suffragists.
The collection of work challenges people to talk about the two approaches and consider what their own stance may have been at the time.
Bringing together some of the best in local artistic talent, this thought-provoking exhibition is set to showcase a range of creative disciplines from stone-carving work and print to embroidery and portraits.
Among the artwork being displayed is defaced coinage. The piece by the mansion’s resident artist, Julian Walker, explores the defacing of coins during the Suffrage Movement, in which the slogan ‘Votes for Women’ was stamped in crude lettering across the head of the king on coins.
The deliberate targeting of the king, as the constitutional monarch and head of the Church of England, could be likened to a direct assault on the male authority figures that were perceived to be upholding the laws of the country at the time.
Speaking about his work Julian said:
“For over twenty years I have been making work that intervenes in what might be thought of as heritage objects.
“I have undone embroideries and added to them, carved into fossils and Wedgwood ceramics, engraved onto 1950s glass plates, and made passable fakes of seventeenth-century drawings and artefacts from antiquity.
“All of these add to the cultural fragility of the items, and pose uncomfortable questions about preservation, use, the creation of ‘unassailable culture’, and how we relate to the past…The object altered for this project raises the same questions.”
Other poignant pieces being showcased include two portraits entitled “Words and Deeds” by the mansion’s resident artist Jason Rose.
Speaking about his piece, Jason said:
“The two portraits are of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragettes, and Millicent Fawcett, leader of the Suffragists.
“The piece explores the difference in approach both ladies had – the portrait of Millicent being composed entirely of transcribed words and quotes from various Suffragists, and the one of Emmeline being made up of archive images of suffragettes performing militant action”
‘Suffragette or suffragist? Which one are you?’ is free to attend and takes place in The Gallery,Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford IG1 4XA
It will be open 11am-4pm every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August.
Guests will also have the opportunity to buy original pieces of artwork from the exhibition.