The lives of women who created and shaped modern Britain but are all too often overlooked will be celebrated this Spring in an exhibition by contemporary female artists Sophie Parkin and Mandee Gage at Devon’s Broomhill Estate. 147 Women Dinner Party is part of the artistic programme at the Devon venue, which is home to the National Sculpture Prize, which was taken over by a new team last year.
Each of the 147 pieces in the exhibition is dedicated to one of these great women, which include scientists, artists, writers and others from Ada Lovelace, through conservationist Jane Goodall to artist Judy Chicago, political activist Claudia Cumberbatch Jones and many more. The artists have also dedicated the exhibition as a whole, to the many women who remain unnamed.
Information on some of the women featured can be found here.
Devon Motto Ware
The installation comprises a display of Motto Ware ceramics, which is also known as Devon Motto Ware – a style that first appeared in the South West in the 1860s and is often decorated with motivational mottos and colloquial sayings, often inspired by Ancient Greece.
Sophie Parkin and Mandee Gage collaborated to produce the 147 pieces in the exhibition, with Mandee creating the ceramics and Sophie subverting traditional imagery in the decoration by incorporating the 147 maxims of Pythia (High Priestess at the Temple of Apollo in Ancient Greece) and images which pay homage to these 147 historically significant women.
A book to accompany the exhibition will be available for sale and the spin-off podcast series @shadowspies available on all major podcast platforms.
The exhibition comes to Devon following an opening show at The Stash Gallery London and Beecroft Public Gallery, Southend 5 March, coinciding with International Womens’ Day on 8 March.
The concluding show at Broomhill Estate will bring the artworks home to the county where they were created and where Motto Ware has its roots, creating a through-line from historical craft to contemporary art in the region.
The Devon launch coincides with the final weekend of the Broomhill Art Hotel’s winter-featured artist Judith Burrows, offering an opportunity to see the work of another contemporary woman artist during your visit. At the Private View on 8 April, Sophie Parkin and Mandee Gee will give a talk which will be live-streamed via Broomhill Estate TV Youtube Channel.
Speaking about 147 Women Dinner Party, artists Sophie Parkin said: “I collect Motto Ware, this pottery comes originally from Devon where the terracotta clay was plentiful and was made by local potters, from the beginnings of tourism, around 1860 for 100 years.
“With time on my hands during the pandemic, I thought this was the moment to find a ceramicist interested in making and decorating 147 pieces, I found Mandee Gage to collaborate with. Mandee has handmade each piece original and different, (just like women). I have decorated half of them; all of them are dedicated to the women named on their bases.”
Charlie Powell, Curator of Broomhill Estate and Sculpture Garden said: “We’re really excited to be able to bring Sophie Parkin and Mandee Gage’s incredible works to Devon, the birthplace of this particular style of ceramicware.
“Our vision for Broomhill is to celebrate contemporary art which demonstrates viability in terms of its purpose and moves beyond being performative through active contribution to social and environmental causes.
“Championing these underserved icons whilst celebrating traditional crafts and techniques is very much a part of that ethos and this exhibition embodies it perfectly.”
The exhibition will take place in the annexed gallery which houses featured exhibitions as a stand-alone art space. In addition, the hotel itself is curated regularly for immersive featured exhibitions and the sculpture gardens showcase exhibits and collections as well as a meadow dedicated to the National Sculpture Prize.
Exhibition: 147 Women Dinner Party
9 – 30 April 2022
9am – 6pm
Entry: FREE (entry to the sculpture garden not included)
Broomhill Estate, Art Hotel and Sculpture Gardens, Devon, EX31 4EX
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