The UK’s museums and galleries are celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of new exhibitions announced, new art commissioned for display, and events and talks on the subject of women.
‘We Are Here: Inspirational Women’ goes on tour
A museum display celebrating women from north east England, is going on tour in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Developed at Discovery Museum, ‘We Are Here: Inspirational Women’ is a museum trail which was originally created in 2022 by community-led research group Exchange.
The group consists of community activists, researchers and museum staff, and explores how the themes of empire, migration and life in Britain are represented in the museum’s collections.
The exhibition features 16 specially commissioned portraits of women working in the fields of medicine, healthcare, science, academia and activism, alongside personal stories.
Among the women featured are MP Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central’s current Labour MP and Shamshad Iqbal (pictured above) who co-founded the Angelou Centre in Newcastle’s west end.
The collection will feature as part of Northumbria University’s International Women’s Day event at Newcastle Cathedral and then tour to Gateshead Library for the rest of March.
Portrait photographer Dorothy Wilding celebrated in new exhibition
The life and career of portrait photographer Dorothy Wilding, who took the portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth II featured on UK stamps, is being celebrated in an exhibition opening today at the Eastgate Centre in Gloucester.
The exhibition features 130 of Wilding’s photographs of film stars, writers, celebrities and royalty, with one image for every year of the 130-year anniversary since her birth in Gloucester. The portraits on display have been reprinted alongside smaller original prints and ephemera including books, magazines, coins and stamps featuring Wilding’s work.
Alongside portraits of the young Queen Elizabeth and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the exhibition will feature portraits of Tallulah Bankhead, Cecil Beaton, Noël Coward, Yul Brynner and Harry Belafonte.
Accompanying the photographs will be a series of podcasts, a pop-up photo booth, late openings for younger people and artist-led creative workshops focussing on the photographer’s career.
The exhibition, which runs until 23 May 2023, is funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, allocated to the Association of Independent Museums (AIM). It is one of fourteen ‘New Stories, New Audiences’ small grants of up to £15,000 made by AIM and funded by Heritage Fund this year.
National Portrait Gallery announces new commission
The National Portrait Gallery has today announced the commission of ‘Work in Progress’, a seven panel group portrait co-created by artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake.
Inspired by the cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Haworth also co-created in 1967, the mural draws together many stencilled depictions of cultural figures into a single mural.
The work is modelled after the artists’ previous mural of the same name and depicts 130 women who have had a significant impact on British history and culture. While announced today, it will be displayed for the first time when the National Portrait Gallery reopens.
The mural was created in collaboration with UK colleges and community groups through a series of workshops led by Haworth and Blake. It was commissioned with the support of the CHANEL Culture Fund, as part of Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture, a three-year partnership with the Gallery.
The artwork’s creation saw participants produce stencilled portraits with acrylic paints and paper, based on existing depictions of their chosen subjects, which have been collaged into a single image.
The mural includes representations of women from the 1st century onwards, and among its subjects depicts 26 historical figures who, to date, have not been represented in the Gallery’s Collection.
Among them is nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, vaccinologist Dame Sarah Gilbert, comedian Barbara Lisicki and 19th century abolitionist Ellen Craft.
Museum of London Docklands hosts talks on a history of witchcraft
Taking place this evening is a talk at the Museum of London Docklands, ‘Women: Witches and Wenches’. The talk will explore the stories of women accused of witchcraft throughout history, and Londoners’ belief in the occult.
Speakers Maria Beadell, Vanessa King and Dr Alice Tarbuck will present at the event, which is also being live streamed,and is part of a special series inspired by the museum’s exhibition, Executions.
Exhibitions launched as part of Dundee Women’s Festival
Dundee Museum of Transport has opened its ‘Women in Transport’ Exhibition, which will run until the end of March.
The exhibition gathers the stories of local women within its collections, and is part of Dundee Women’s Festival, which runs until 19 March 2023.
As part of the same festival, the University of Dundee will open Uncertain its own exhibition ‘Uncertain Territories: Women & Nature Exhibit’, which celebrates a variety of women artists and scientists from Dundee and beyond who have “explored the natural world and left traces through the artefacts, specimens and artworks in the University of Dundee Museum Collections”.