Friday 16th May 2014

Today I meet Alannah Currie, artist and musician from the 1980s’ group The Thompson Twins.

She is founder of the women’s anti G.M. movement: Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment (MAdGE) in New Zealand. Here in the UK she has an art group called Miss Pokeno and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance. We arrange to see each other at her beautiful home and studio in Borough. We sat at one of her latest artworks – a large kitchen table filled with words of abuse suffered by individual women burned into its surface.

My eyes caught the words ‘thunder thighs’ and it took me back to the school playground with adolescent boys calling names and laughing. Alannah asked me to add a name. I declined, as everything I had even been called was on there already – I didn’t feel the need to mentally ‘go there’ again.

We drank tea and talked about our art. Alannah’s a very down to earth woman, full of fun and completely fearless. The pieces she showed me were themed on the suffragettes ‘objects of concealment’, unapologetically full of rage, but beautifully embroidered onto domestic objects. I felt a contemporary sense of the danger and determination in the sometimes-violent protests of the women.

Her stories of activism and performance, mixed with her playfulness and brutal honestly left me uplifted. She really generously she gave me a ‘Big Muff’, (to artfully conceal your hammer) and a ‘Dissenters’ Hat’.

pc_dissenters_hat

In a ‘Dissenter’s Hat’ by Alannah Currie. Image: Alannah Currie

I smiled all the way home. I had just met a very interesting woman. I took away the feeling that I must try to find a way to include this playful, fierce energy within my proposals.

Come back on Saturday 20 August 2016, when Mary explores suffrage artefacts at Godalming Museum…