The revolution will not be televised…the revolution will be ceramicised!
“To celebrate 100 years of women getting the vote, I thought it would be great to make this piece to celebrate the “Suffragette Spirit” that still lives on in Aberdeen. I hope it will be a fitting honour to all those ordinary women who have done extraordinary things to advance human rights for all.” Artist Carrie Reichardt
Nuart Aberdeen and global human rights organisation Amnesty International have joined forces with contemporary ceramicist Carrie Reichardt to create a piece of permanent public art to highlight Amnesty International’s project in support of women human rights defenders in the UK.
The ceramic mural, entitled ‘Suffragette Spirit’, celebrates Scotland’s woman human rights defenders, using classic revolutionary imagery and created using the suffragette colours of purple, green and white. The highly-detailed work celebrates women from across Scotland who have been nominated for Amnesty International’s ‘Suffragette Spirit’ project; pictures and facts about pioneering suffragettes, and images of human rights protesters.
The mural was accompanied by two other works by Carrie Reichardt: ‘We are Witches’ and ‘Trailblazing Women of Aberdeen’, which are inspired by the traditional stain glass windows around the city and celebrate the life and deeds of historical local women and suffragettes as well as highlighting contemporary women that continue the fight for equal rights today. Together, the works carry the spirit of the suffragette’s forward (on the 100th anniversary of the first women receiving the right to vote) as well as stand as a monument to an incredible roll call of influential female figures from Aberdeen’s rich cultural history, many long since forgotten.
Remarkably, Reichardt also found time to host a workshop for a group of young people from less well-off areas of the city, who each nominated an ‘unsung hero’ to be recognized as a part of a new community mural in the city centre that it’s hoped will be added to with further nominations over time. The mural, entitled ‘Everyday Heroes’, includes a collection of ceramic plaques designed, cut and installed by the participants under the stewardship of Carrie. Aberdeen-born medic Mary Esslemont, a local doctor who was the first female to negotiate on behalf of the British Medical Association with Anuerin Bevan on the development of the NHS, is among those featured. Another is Caroline Thomson, head teacher at Cornhill Primary School, who died in 2016 after a battle with cancer. The mother-of-two from nearby Portlethen was chosen by a former pupil who pays tribute in his piece to her “words of wisdom” that continue to inspire him to this day.
Images of artist Carrie Reichardt working on the ceramic mural entitled ‘Suffragette Spirit’ at her studio in West London (credit: Amnesty International): https://adam.amnesty.org/asset-bank/images/assetbox/2a6cb969-ed5e-4c7b-8b08-fe45332b6fe8/assetbox.html
Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Scotland Programme Director, said:
“We are delighted that such an acclaimed and talented artist as Carrie Reichardt will honour the Scottish Suffragette Spirit nominees in her artwork. We value the unique power of art to unite people, inspire activism and promote human rights change. We are thrilled to be participating in Nuart Aberdeen and look forward to sharing Carrie’s work with our global movement of human rights defenders.”
Amal Azzudin, one of the human rights defenders who has inspired Carrie and is included within the artwork adds:
“I am truly honoured and grateful to be chosen as a woman who embodies the Suffragette Spirit. I am a huge supporter of Amnesty International’s work so this means a lot to me. I stand in solidarity with all the women in the world fighting for a better world and the 100 women on hunger strike who are currently in detention in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.”
Martyn Reed, Founder and Curator of Nuart said:
“We’re proud to have developed a long working relationship with Amnesty over the years, collaborating on regional, national and more recently international projects. They’re an organisation close to our hearts with a shared ideology and we’re absolutely honoured to be able to offer grass root platforms for these vital and important campaigns. Carrie Reichardt is an important artist tackling issues and subjects that desperately need our attention. To be able to bring Carrie and Amnesty together under a Nuart platform to shine a light on female suffrage is a powerful thing.”