Birmingham New Street artwork to celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage
Posted byJennifer Bollen
Birmingham New Street will host a unique art installation celebrating 100 years since women first got the right to vote.
The ‘Face of Suffrage’ artwork will be a floor-based, 200 metre-square photo mosaic consisting of more than 3,500 images of women from across the West Midlands and beyond.
It will comprise historic images of women involved in the suffragette movement from the West Midlands in the early 1900s and pictures of women from today.
When viewed from above, the mosaic will show a leading face - still to be decided - from the suffrage movement in the West Midlands.
An example of a photo mosaic similar to one appearing at Birmingham New Street
Birmingham New Street, which has 170,000 passengers every day, was chosen because its large concourse provides an ideal space to host the art work. The railway from Birmingham was also an important route for supporters of the movement into London.
Artist Helen Marshall, who runs photography and design studio The People’s Project, will create the mosaic. Helen has installed similar projects across Britain marking other historic occasions.
Women from across the West Midlands are invited to submit their own picture to be part of the mosaic. Visitors will also have opportunities at the station to have their photographs taken. The first session will be on Monday 1 October from 10am.
The artwork will be on display from Thursday 15 November to Friday 14 December - the day which marks the 100th anniversary of women voting for the first time. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave the first British women the right to vote and stand for public office.
Pat Power, Birmingham New Street station manager, said: “The West Midlands had a significant suffragette movement and hundreds of women travelled from Birmingham to London as part of the movement. New Street station is the perfect location for this thought-provoking piece of art.
“Equality is at the heart of our organisation and we actively encourage women to consider a career in the rail industry which will be both rewarding and exciting.”
Helen said:"The idea came from my personal experience as a female achieving my dream to be an artist and for the wish for women to become more visible, as they have been so invisible throughout art history, both in the representation in portraiture and as artists in their own right.
"My work is about breaking down boundaries between professional and amateur photography and also amongst people. I truly hope everybody will feel compelled to send in a photo and be part of this celebration."
There will be events taking place in Birmingham during the display period to celebrate it and learn more about the suffragette movement.
Other supporters of the installation include CrossCountry, Grain (a Birmingham-based arts organisation), Arts Council England, LSE Women’s Library, Birmingham City University and Birmingham Hippodrome.
Network Rail is the custodian of a huge collection of railway history. Find out more.