MEDIA MEDDLES, 2018

100 years 100 women 100 medals 

It is believed that 100 ‘valour’ medals were created by the Women’s Social and Political Union which was formed in 1903, primarily by Emmeline Pankhurst. The medals were awarded to those women who went on hunger strike and were force-fed whilst in UK prisons.

Image 1, CGarfen, Media Meddles, 1918-1935 detail.jpg

‘Media Meddles’ has been created to celebrate 100 women’s achievements globally, one for each year dating from 1918 to the present day. In some years there were no individual accomplishments attained but something of worth was noted in the promotion of women’s rights.

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Silkscreen printed medals have been hand stitched with the year, name and nationality of the individual recipient. Added to these is their marital status which is commonly recorded in the media, though generally bears little relevance to the achievement.

Image 5, CGarfen, Media Meddles, Maria Bernaldo de Quiros, 1924.jpg

The hard won successes of these women are acknowledged on these medals, celebrating them as the first females to gain status in politics, in space, in the arts, in business, in sport, and in other areas. However, to counteract this, their achievements have been downgraded by the media who reduce these women’s endeavours by focussing on their appearance, their domestic life, their gender. The text is stitched in purple and green silks on a white ground to represent the three colours of the Suffrage movement.

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We don’t have to look too far to realise that the media’s negative attitude towards women is little changed today.

Image 5, CGarfen, Media Meddles, Mary Rand, 1964.jpg

Exhibited in:

‘Suffrage’, Llantarnam Grange Art Centre, Cwmbran, South Wales (2018)