Processions

On Sunday the 10th of June twelve of Oriel Myrddin Gallery’s banner making team set out from Carmarthen heading to Cardiff and Processions – the mass participation artwork to mark 100 years of votes for women.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery were one of 100 organisations across the UK who were chosen to make a large banner for the Processions project – one of the biggest participatory artworks ever created. Produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary

The bus journey was full of laughter and stories, nail polish and glitter were applied and sweeties eaten! On arrival at Cardiff City Football Stadium artist Rhiannon Williams – lead artist on the project – joined the group and the scale of the event became apparent. An estimated 10,000 women joined the 2 mile procession through Cardiff from the stadium to Bute Park. The banners on display were spectacular, from hand weaving and embroidery to home-made flags and pennants. The participants were no less gorgeous with plenty of amazing costumes, dazzling head-dresses and a sea of green, white and violet (the colours of the suffragette movement) on display. The atmosphere was electric, the sun shone and spectators waved and cheered from the pavements, windows and bridges along the route.

The Oriel Myrddin Gallery banner drew a great deal of attention with people wanting selfies with it all the way along the procession. The warrior butterfly design, flashing and sparkling with sequins in the sunlight, was adorned with words and phrases that the group generated in the first session – Girls are Strong, Love Yourself, Education is our Armour – and was further decorated with handstitched names and symbols all relevant to each individual who worked on the banner.

Similar Prcoessions were happening in the other capital cities at the same time in Belfast, Edinburgh and London with tens of thousands of women, girls and those identifying as women taking part overall.

Carmarthen should be very proud that our women and girls from the town were represented in our capital by this diverse group whose ages ranged from 13 to 71. The group included teenagers from Dr M’z youth club who hosted the sessions, professional textile artists and students from Carmarthen School of Art.

The banner will be on display at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in the autumn.

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