- Art Reviews
- Mirabilia – A Miracle on Gladstone Avenue at St. Anne’s Church
- Louise Bourgeois at the Freud Museum
- Cynthia Hammond on Suffragettes in Bath
- AHGSA at Gendai Gallery
- Hennessy Youngman at the Drake
- Gallery 44 :: POSTCARD for Nuit Blanche
- Nuit Blanche 2011 :: Bill Burns :: Choir of Dogs, Boats and Airplanes
- Art Reviews
Dr Cynthia Imogen Hammond
Associate Professor, Department of Art History, Concordia University
“Every Tree a Staunch Heart:” Activism, Landscape, and Suffrage in Edwardian England
On the outskirts of Bath, England, a remarkable feminist landscape took shape between 1909-1912. During these years, over sixty women visited Eagle House, a private home, to plant a tree or shrub in a carefully designed arboretum. This field of trees was intended to be a living monument to suffragettes and suffragists, who were fighting to gain the right to vote for women of all classes. The “Suffragettes’ Wood” (also called “Annie’s Arboretum” after the famous working-class suffragette, Annie Kenney) is the only known example of collective feminist landscape design in England. During the 1960s, this landscape was destroyed to make way for a housing estate, leaving only a few material traces behind. Fortunately, an extensive photographic archive survived, and was made public, digitally, in 2008. It was this archive that alerted Cynthia Hammond to the existence of a powerful feminist history in Bath, and led to her research-creation work, “The Suffragettes’ Orchard.” This paper will tell the story of the Suffragettes’ Wood, its creation, decline, and destruction. It will also tell the story of how, starting with a small public art project, a community came together to create the city’s first public monument to women. On International Women’s Day 2011, three trees were planted in Bath’s public spaces in honour and in memory of the feminist presence in this historic city. Although the Suffragettes’ Wood was lost, the idea of a tree, growing into a more egalitarian time, proved to be a powerful symbol linking past, present, and future.
Dr Cynthia Imogen Hammond teaches architectural history in the Department of Art History, Concordia University, Montreal. In addition to publishing on gender, architecture, public space, and landscapes, Hammond maintains a studio practice and has recently co-founded the art/design firm, pouf! art + architecture. Her book, Architects, Angels, Activists and the City of Bath, 1765-1965, was published by Ashgate in February 2012. This book presents the ways in which women of all classes shaped the buildings and landscapes of one of England’s most architecturally significant cities. But this book is also an intervention into Bath’s public memory; in it, the author describes how her site-specific works of art were strategic means to bring her archival findings to a broader public. Through both art and research, an interdisciplinary approach to the city, Hammond aims to transform as well as critique the urban image of Bath. At once a performative literature, an extensively researched history, and a feminist guide to the city, Architects, Angels, Activists engages with current struggles over urban signification in Bath and beyond.