The Stature project aims to draw attention to the achievements of eight inspirational women and their hitherto ‘hidden’ status in formal public commemorative art.
The ground floor of Manchester Town Hall is brimming with portrait busts
of people of achievement – the sculpture cafe hosts 16 busts; and a further 8
line the entrance corridor. However it’s an all-male cast; representations of
women are conspicuously absent.
Through the Stature project, we’re interested in reframing or revisioning the past; finding ways of bringing women’s achievements from the margins to the centre of culture so they are celebrated and valued accordingly.
We will quite literally weave the achievements of notable Mancunian women into the fabric of Manchester town hall.
We’re working on a series of crocheted masks depicting the faces of eight notable Mancunian women. 24 February to 9 March 2014 the masks will be exhibited on the portrait busts in town hall entrance corridor.
We want to highlight that, despite barriers to participating in the public sphere, women’s contributions have been many, varied, and exciting.
Women of achievement are not rare exceptions to the rule; however women’s accomplishments have been under-represented and under-recorded. Barring Queen Victoria’s status through accident of birth, Manchester’s public artworks still only formally celebrate the achievement of historical men. Even when discussing the Stature project with (right-on, informed, feminist) peers, the response is often shocking: ‘are there enough notable historical Mancunian women to make masks of?’
Germaine Greer called the current crafts revival ‘heroic pointlessness’: the only historically acceptable creative outlet for women resurrected as a twee throwback to the past. We’re curious as to why traditionally ‘female’ activities are considered to be of little value. Craft was a casualty of first-wave feminism as women rightly considered themselves worthy
of much more. However the act of creating functional items in the home was a
strong contributor to women’s community-building, with techniques and patterns passed around sewing circles and from generation to generation.
Find out more about the eight women of achievement we are celebrating through the Stature project.