This week, on 4 October, Alexandra Arts will officially launch 'Pankhurst in the Park'; a programme of free events, activities and an international artist residency based in and around the newly reopened Alexandra Park, in Manchester.
Pankhurst in the Park takes inspiration from Alexandra Park's connection to the iconic leader of the Suffragette Movement, Emmeline Pankhurst, who was born and bred only yards from the Park in the neighbouring Moss Side estate. Until now, the Park’s rich historical connections to the women’s rights movement have left no trace locally. So, to coincide with the recent multi-million pound renovation and reopening of Alexandra Park, Pankhurst in the Park will celebrate its radical past by promoting the wealth of talented female artists around the world and providing a platform for art created by women.
From 4 October until early 2015, a free public programme of artist talks and installations will take place in and around the stunning Victorian, Grade 2-listed Alexandra Park and Pavilion. Highlight events include family-friendly workshops in collaboration with the international Big Draw festival on 4 October; a conversation with Emmeline Pankhurst’s Great Granddaughter, Dr. Helen Pankhurst on 15 October; and, a final sculptural performance by the Artists in Residence, Go! Push Pops on 28 November.
Commenting on the launch, Lotte Karlsen, Founder of Alexandra Arts said:
“The local community of Moss Side has hosted its fair share of radical history but Emmeline’s achievements, while volatile and controversial, have helped to change the course of women's history, and Alexandra Arts believes this legacy is something to celebrate and take inspiration from.”
The Pankhurst in the Park programme launches as the Park’s first International Artist in Residence, the radical feminist artist collective, Go! Push Pops, arrive from Brooklyn, New York. The Artist Residency opportunity invited female artists working in any art form to be inspired by, contemporise and creatively illuminate the significant local history that is linked to Alexandra Park. The Artist Residency places a strong emphasis on engagement and collaboration, seeking to deepen the existing relationships between Alexandra Park and the multicultural community surrounding it.
Talking about their approach to the residency, the successful artists, Go Push Pops said:
“Engagement and collaboration with the multicultural community of Alexandra Park and the surrounding areas will be a strong element of our work, and the piece will evolve out of the relationships we are able to nurture during our biweekly free women’s creative movement series. Elements of the sculptural work will be built in the studio throughout and used to activate the final sculptural performance.”
Artists from twenty-two countries, including Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and Switzerland, applied for the two month residency at Alexandra Park, which is being funded by Arts Council England, as well as investment from St Mary's Primary School in Moss Side.
Lotte Karlsen further added:
“Alexandra Arts was overwhelmed by applications for this Artist Residency programme, which we feel illustrates the interest in Moss Side and its radical history from the international artist community.”
The Pankhurst in the Park's Autumn programme of events can be found at www.alexandra-arts.org.uk/events.
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