With the centenary of British women receiving the partial vote coming up shortly, artist Seren Morgan Jones decided it was time to focus on the Welsh suffragists who helped to make it happen. “I think it is important to show that there is more to Wales and its history than coal mining, rugby and men,” she explains, “and to draw people’s attention to the fact Welsh women were so involved in the fight for women’s rights.”
So she made Portraits of Protesters, a series of paintings imagining how these women, whose names came from historical records, might have looked. “There are many famous, well-documented individuals such as Lady Rhondda, Rachel Barrett and Alice Abadam, but I also wanted to look at the unnamed women who made up the masses of the movement," she continues. “The suffragist movement also had very successful PR campaigns and called on artists and graphic designers to create their posters etc. So I decided to pretend that I’d been asked as an artist today to portray them. Hopefully some of them would have liked what I’ve done!”
Seren adds a contemporary twist to the portraits but her approach is anchored in the documents she uncovered during her research, and the amalgamation of the two makes for an invigorating yet authentic-looking collection.
Seren Morgan Jones: Portraits of Protesters will run from 3 April until 2 May at Gallery Ten, Cardiff.