MY SHELFIE

Mary Branson

The artist in residence to women’s suffrage in the Houses of Parliament shows us her shelfie

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  1. In 2014 I became artist in residence to women’s suffrage in the Houses of Parliament.  Learning about how we got the vote was such an interesting journey for me. Back in the 70’s at my school they didn’t teach any women’s history. This print, 'Marching', was a response to my learning of the many different organisations who campaigned for the vote. They all had banner colours to identify themselves. Lots of women and men were members of several groups at once. The image is how I imagined an aerial view of a Votes For Women march. This print is on show at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, 17-23 October in a show called Ideas worth fighting For.

  2. All my art installations start with working out dimensions within a space. I’d been using a myriad of useless measuring tapes over the years. On my 50th birthday my friend Jenny Lewin who is an architect bought me my first serious one. It was my best present!

  3. My favourite family photo; I suppose it best describes how I feel about life. It was taken on the log ride at Thorpe Park.  It was one of my first dates with my husband Mat and Shola and I loved it so much.  It was the early days of the forming of our family. My best friend and muse, Hilary Lewin, is tucked in the corner. She’s a super talented Arvigo therapist – her treatments are life changing! Finally, my mum’s hands.  She’s had Alzheimer’s for over 20 years, so we’ve had to learn to communicate in various ways. I have similar looking hands to her and when we are together we do a lot of hand holding.  I cut her nails and shape them.  It’s our way of being close.

  4. I enjoy going to a lot of art exhibitions. One of my recent favourites was Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican in London. I went with my son Shola and we laughed a lot at the piece Me and My Mother, an ongoing video work. Kjartansson’s mother spits in the artist’s face over several minutes, with what we’re told is ‘intensity and vigour’. The piece began when he was 24 years old, and is repeated every five years in the same spot in his mother’s living room. 

  5. One of my test glass discs from my light installation in the Palace of Westminster, New Dawn, a celebration of all the people who brought about women’s suffrage.  It’s a permanent work, 7 metres high in Westminster Great Hall. The piece constantly changes, following the ebb and flow of the Thames tide. It’s worth a visit  - even if I do say so myself!

  6. We are really lucky to have hedgehogs in our garden – they turned up about a year ago. We put the food out each night and wait… then along they come. We think there are five, you never know as they stumble in and out at various times.  We saw our first hoglet last week!

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women we love
shelfie

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