Salt road director Dr Sally Payen showed her Arts Council England funded ‘The Fence and the Shadow’ Greenham Peace Camp exhibition at the mac in Birmingham, opening on 22nd September 2017.
The Fence and The Shadow is a new series of paintings by artist Dr. Sally Payen based on her exploration and research about the contested landscape of Greenham Common and the women’s peace camps and anti-nuclear protests that took place in the 1980s.
The Women’s Peace Camp was originally established at RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire, to protest against the nuclear weapons that were being housed there. The majority of protest was undertaken during the 1980s, including famous actions such as ‘Embrace the Base’, where hundreds of women joined hands in a giant circle around the perimeter of the base. Although the missiles were removed in the early 1990s, protests continued at the site for years. Today, Greenham Common contains many traces and memorials of the protest and camps that happened there and is still an emotive symbol of Women’s Activism.
Payen’s exhibition explores the protests, stories of the women who were involved in the peace camps and the site today. Inspired by growing up in the community close to the site, research in the archives, interviews with the women who were involved in the protests and extensive site visits to Greenham Common as it is now, Payen explores Greenham’s continued relevance today.
As part of the mac’s women in protest season Salt road is running a relational engagement program to coincide with the exhibition. Salt road’s Jaime Jackson is working with the relational artists Stephen Whitehead, Margaret Murray and Jane Thakoordin together with communities in Birmingham.
We are working together to create content for the mac’s public spaces and also around Greenham, enabling them to interact with archival material to understand the role of the Peace Camp and the women who took part in it. Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was a 19-year anti-nuclear protest and encampment at the U.S. Military Base at Greenham Common, near Newbury in Berkshire.
Many tens of thousands of women took part in protest actions and events, the historic moment of the Greenham Common Peace Camp and anti-nuclear protest have had a huge impact on the history of protest, anti-nuclear campaigning, feminism and women’s issues and has a continued relevance to contemporary issues and ways of campaigning and protesting today.
For more information on the project visit Sally’s Greenham Peace Camp blog