Gatfield Suffragettes 20116 2021

Suffragettes, 2016-21. Numbered, open edition. Tempered glass, ink 1350H x 200mm.

Photo Credit

Gill Gatfield

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The bold Suffragettes in Gill Gatfield’s 2021 show Survey at Scott Lawrie Gallery have proven to be a hugely popular hit with visitors. The transformative Suffragette asserts the power of the women’s movement into the present tense. Its polished and poised I-form echoes the voices of nineteenth-century activists who fought for the vote and the right for women to be defined legally as a ‘person’. The film of jet-black evokes the inked signatures of 25,000 women on petitions to Parliament and the 90,290 who voted in 1893, demonstrating how collective human rights depend on individual acts of strength. A Roman numeral for One or First, the I-form commemorates New Zealand’s leadership as the first nation granting women the vote. Viewed as a first person pronoun, Suffragette embodies a central tenet of twentieth-century feminism: the personal is political. Independent and androgynous, this toughened text claims new ground and, in its highly reflective surface, includes everyone.

Each sculpture is signed and numbered. The edition is open because there can be no limit on the total number of Suffragettes. You can see Gill’s current show here.

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