Spotlight: LDN WMN in the north
There’s still time this weekend to check out the incredible artworks taking over London as part of LDN WMN, the free public art programme we’ve been helping to curate, produce and install across the capital. Working with the Mayor’s Office and Tate Collective to celebrate 20 unsung women heroes and their contribution to London’s history has been an honour, with the new artworks also forming part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s year-long #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign which commemorates one hundred years since the first women in the UK won the right to vote.
Here we spotlight the art you can see in North London and the surrounding areas. You can find more information on london.gov.uk/ldnwmn about all the artworks, including a planned legacy tribute to pilot Amy Johnson in Cricklewood by artist Lakwena.
Noor Inayat Khan by Manjit Thapp, Kings Cross Station
Manjit Thapp’s illustrated piece pays homage to Noor Inayat Khan, who was not only the first female wireless operator sent from Britain into occupied France, but also the country’s first Muslim war hero. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian decoration, for her service in the Special Operations Executive, having been captured and executed in 1943. “I wish some Indians would win high military distinction in this war,” said Khan. “If one or two could do something in the Allied service which was very brave and which everybody admired it would help to make a bridge between the English people and the Indians.” Thapp’s piece celebrates not just Khan’s bravery, but also her status as a woman of colour during the war. Patterns, textures and drawings are overlaid in a collage style that references various elements of Khan’s experience, including her time spent working undercover, to draw passersby into the narrative of her life.
Una Marson, Evelyn Dove and Winifred Atwell by Carleen De Sözer, Alexandra Palace
De Sözer’s pieces take over the exterior walls of the former BBC studios on the south Terrace at Alexandra Palace which, in 1936, began broadcasting the world’s first public regular analogue high-definition television service. She celebrates the life and work of three black women with a trio of graffiti pieces. Each of these women had a significant cultural impact in the UK, but remain little-known names. Marson was a Jamaican feminist that produced poems, plays and radio programmes, often supporting women’s rights and raising awareness of racism. She became Jamaica’s first female editor in 1928, and travelled to London four years later to work for the BBC, which included producing its Caribbean Voices radio show. Atwell and Dove were both musicians, with Atwell becoming the first black artist to have a number one hit in the UK and to sell a million records. She also had a long run of popular boogie-woogie and ragtime songs on Decca Records. Dove was a member of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra – a group of British West Indian and West African and American musicians – and had a successful career with the BBC in the 1940s, which included a string of radio performances. De Sözer has blended photorealism with modern street art to create black and white portraits of each of these women, highlighting the tools of their trade – microphones and piano keys – in gold.
Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper by Rudy Loewe, opposite Gospel Oak Station
Rudy Loewe’s series of illustrations explore the lives and relationship of Irish poet Eva Gore-Booth and suffragette Esther Roper, political activists and partners that worked together to campaign for women’s rights. Both were committed campaigners, and together helped bring unite the struggle for women’s rights in industry with the fight for their right to vote. The pair also established and edited Urania, a sexual politics journal that challenged ideas of heterosexual marriage, sex, and gender distinctions, and held up same-sex love between women as the ideal partnership. Gore-Booth met Roper in 1896, and the two remained together as lovers and political campaigners until Gore-Booth’s death in 1926. Loewe has focused on both their activism and relationship with a playful piece that borrows the visual language of cartoon strips. The wall-sized comic captures key elements from the pair’s lives, from their suffragette campaigning to their final resting place, together, in Hampstead Cemetery.