International Women's Day leaves trail of exhibitions and events across UK

By Culture24 Staff | 09 March 2010
A photo of two women in colourful outfits dancing by a lake

(Above) Wisewords celebrates women writers, artists and performers

International Women's Day may have officially arrived on Monday (March 8 2010), but the campaign has sparked a flurry of activity at museums and galleries across the UK, from exhibitions to performance and inspirational events.

Manchester Art Gallery has used the occasion to introduce a specially-commissioned portrait of the city's most famous suffragette, unveiling a photo mosaic of Emmeline Pankhurst by Charlotte Newson, constructed with hundreds of photographs of women from contributors around the world.

A picture of a magazine front cover illustration showing a woman in bed reading

The Women's Library in East London is hosting readings and performances

"This project has given all of us the chance to think about women who have inspired us," reflected City Council Deputy Leader Val Stevens.

"We wanted to celebrate and recognise the positive aspects of women and their contribution to society."

In London, Wisewords has enlisted an army of well-known writers for a Bookfest at The Women's Library (Old Castle Street, March 12-13, 2pm-10pm, tickets £3-£20, call 020 7320 2222 or visit Alternative Arts for full details.)

A picture of a mosaic of the head of a woman made up of small photos of women

Charlotte Newson's photo mosaic portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst is at Manchester Art Gallery. © The artist, manchester galleries.org

There's an accompanying Poetry Open Mic Night at The Vibe Bar (visit Apples and Snakes for more information), a new commission by Japanese performance artist Naoko Takahashi at IMT Gallery and work by three female photographers at photo-space (Commercial Road, call 020 7375 0441 for information).

The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool already has work by the likes of Helen Chadwick and Alison Britton among their diverse, year-long The Rise of Women Artists exhibition, and tonight (March 10) the International Slavery Museum will be hosting a series of guest speakers and performers in Celebrating Women (free, refreshments available, call 0151 478 4543 for more.)

A picture of an oil painting of a woman in biblical dress

Annie Swynnerton's The Sense of Sight (1895) is part of The Rise of Women Artists at the Walker in Liverpool. © National Museums Liverpool

The Heroine's Story, with Liverpool saga writers Anne Baker and June Francis, follows at the Merseyside Maritime Museum on Saturday (March 13, 1pm-3.30pm.)

Inverleith House, in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden, launches the first major Scottish solo show by flamboyant painter and sculptor Victoria Morton for eight years on Sunday (until May 2, admission free, opening reception Saturday, 12.30pm-3.30pm, then open 10am-5.30pm Tuesday-Sunday).

A picture of an abstract, multi-coloured panelled painting

Work by Victoria Morton at Inverleith House. Photo courtesy the artist, The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd, Sadie Coles HQ

New short films by Anne-Marie Copestake provide support in the Lower-Ground Floor gallery, although anyone unable to catch this opener can still treat IWD as the perfect excuse to visit some of the best exhibitions by female artists south of the border.

Emily Prince's tribute to troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Saatchi Gallery, Claire Rojas's alternative world at Birmingham Ikon and Imogen Stidworthy's inventive film works at the Arnolfini in Bristol are among the choices.

A picture of a painting of two cartoon figures dancing

Clare Rojas at Ikon in Birmingham. Courtesy the artist

It's also the last chance to see Paula Rego's excellent delve through the British Council Collection at the Whitechapel (until March 12) and Sonya Whitefield's bold interpretation of one woman's journey through a hysterectomy at Belfast's Golden Thread Gallery (until March 18, open 10.30am-5.30pm Tuesday-Friday, 10.30am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, visit the Gallery online for more).

100 Women – 100 Visions, a ton of portraits of female scientists and engineers, is aiming to provide an academic celebration at London's City Hall (until March 19, admission free, open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, call 020 7983 4100 to check).

Visit the International Women's Day website for full listings.

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