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Hamish walking past Faslane Nuclear Base Scotland
Demo at Faslane Nuclear Base April 2013
A new Banner by Thalia
Monday 24 January 2011 by Jo Stanley - Morning Star
Banners usually mean two things to activists. Either they're the conglomerations of fabric, poles and ropes that you get tangled up in, battling the rain and baby buggies on demonstrations.
Or they're those glorious satin, oil-painted monuments that you see hung in people's history museums, lustrous as Victorian Sunday School prize bookplates.
Many of those older trade union banners were made by male craftsmen in professional firms. But this exhibition enables a third meaning to emerge.
These 30-odd banners, produced in the last hundred years but mainly from the 1980s and 1990s, are homemade art by women.
Without the intrusions of gales and police, looking at banners on gallery walls really is a different experience.
That's when you start to see that this really is beautiful art produced by groups of committed women amateurs.
The images produced express passionate beliefs.
Often the banners were hastily discussed, drawn, inked, sewed and on someone's floor, in the middle of other political and household tasks.
They are a product of women's traditional skills, going beyond the isolated darning mushroom.
Here the needle is a shared tool for peace, as mighty as a sword. Satin, not serge, is the stuff of the grander battle against war.
A key artist on show is Thalia Campbell, who not only embroidered and machined scores of women's peace banners but also ran workshops all over the country.
There she taught women how to make a banner that was not just functional. It also expressed the profound meanings of peace to the particular individuals who made it.
Many banners were very much communal enterprises.
The Mothers For Peace banner was effectively a quilt created all over the world as appliqued small squares, and then assembled in Worcester, Birmingham, Southampton, Leeds and London.
Banners traditionally use bold colours, particularly scarlet. But these banners remember the purple, white and green of the suffrage movement too.
One banner dating from the first world war is very simple, small and black with a sense of gravitas and conviction.
My personal favourite Molesworth: The Dawn of a New Era uses subtle beige, brown, and apricot colours.
It refers to the second peace camp after Greenhan that was set to host cruise missiles.
Tellingly, no-one now remembers its origins.
There must be many such banners and many more have been abandoned, less valued because they were made quickly by non-professionals.
But Bradford's Peace Museum which organised the exhibition and has probably the biggest collection of peace banners in Britain is keen to preserve and share this heritage.
Even if you can't visit this exhibition, you can still borrow banners to display in your area, as churches increasingly do, by visiting www.peacemuseum.org.uk.
Runs until January 28. Telephone 01274-370291 for more details.
Hamish & Thalia sorting out the family archives 2013
After Greenham I went on the Sizewell B March. We set out from East London after speeches from Jo Richardson , MP or Barking and Ian Mikardo for Poplar and Bow. The gave interesting talks about the history of the eastend..I spoke about Womens History and Peace., There were a lot of alternative people on the march who stood some distance away with their backs to thespeakers.They disapproved of MPs and speeches. Afterwards as we marched they realised they had missed some thing interesting and kept asking me to tell the what had been said. I got fed up of repeating over and over the content of the speeches and said they should have listened ...and history is important....
Maggie from WANA and I and a few others left from 100 House in an old van, Ian had said the van would never make it. It did soon break down. So with all our banners and tents we hitch hiked. We got a lift almost all the way with a nuclear scientist with whom we had very lively useful discussions about the nuclear industry from an expert. We did a die in out side the electricity board ,wonderful places Mrs T did way with. The local TV sent out reporters to interview us.With Maggies WANA expertise and our discussions with the Nuclear Scientist the TV people were soon out of their depths and floundering. Were were not the silly women they thought so they dubbed our interview over with music when it went out. We were really furious.
2011 Rainbow Gathering Greece - Hamish attended
2011 Annual Peace History Conference
Dates: 13th May 2011 to 14th May 2011
Times: 9:30 am (13/5/11) to 5:15 pm (14/5/11)
Location: Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London.
Details: This, the fifth Peace History Conference organised by MAW, focuses on the pioneers and prophets of the peace movement. Details of speakers and topics can be found on the booking form. There will be a display of Women's Peace Banners from the Greenham Common peace camp, as 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the march to Greenham. There will also be an exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of Peace News.
Nelson Mandela Banner
The Nelson Mandela Banner was made for the Celebrations of his 70th
birthday for the Anti Apartheid movement...It was made by Thalia and Ian
at Glangors in Borth Nr Aberystwyth, partly out in the garden as it was
so huge...It was used at the head of the march through London every red
tab along to the top was carried by a world figure including Neil
Kinnock and Bishop Tu Tu ....It was also used out side Aberystwyth Town
Hall where we had speakers and sang the ANC national anthem in one of
their languages. The banner then went on tour around UK as part of the
Exhibition 100 years of Womens banners, it was then lost for 20 years
until found in Tom's garage when he moved house recently. We are working
to find an appropriate institution to give it a home....
Thalia has won the Peace Prize twice
I took this on the train from Helsinki to Bejing, we hung it out of the train windows to show we were British but not NF or football hooligans. I cut it up and gave one flag to each UK passport holder. I took lots of banners to Bejing ! Thalia
Kathleen Tacchi-Morris lived her life as a tireless campaigner for peace. Her childhood influences were meeting Annie Besant, H G Wells and George Bernard Shaw when taken to Freethought Society meetings by her father.Through dancing she met and formed a close friendship with the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson. She also met Picasso.
During the second world war Tacchi brought up the illegitimate children of Black American servicemen and because of her contacts in the Soviet Union her phone was tapped and her home ransacked by dark suited officials from the Foreign Office.
At the 1950 World Peace Conference in Sheffield she noted that among the many delegates there were no women. Picasso then asked her to represent hm at the Peace Conference in Warsaw.
After a successful application to the Arts Council via the National Lottery in 1989 the Tacchi-Morris Trust was formed and a Centre of Excellence in the Performing Arts in Education
was founded in Taunton Somerset.
We spent a day with Tacchi Morris in North Curry Nr Taunton . She told
us she adopted 42 mixed race illegmate children. Children of the US
forces and local women. One ended working in the Whitehouse for one the
US Presidents. We sat in a brown and cream room crowded with boxes and
papers. We saw her Theatre mostly made of wood. It could have seated
200?..I wonder what plays those Children produced? Who were the
audiences? It was a wonderful friendly day sharing her life and all she
had lived through .A little marred by her fear and distrust of us
because of the couple of "peace people" she had taken into her home to
archive her material who had stolen lots of her treasures including her
art works that Picasso had done for the womens peace movement.
Her 90th Birthday party organised by Charles Forte was an experience
with the place decorated with our Banners. Many of the great and good of
art and politics were there. I especially remember talking to Dame
Judith Hart. Later I asked her if she would be a trustee of the Greenham
Sculpture Project . At the Time she said she had too many
responsibilities. She died a few months later.... Thalia
The Peace Museum Bradford
From The Independent 21.09.2001
Thalia Campbell, who spent most of the 1980s going back and forth to Greenham Common, remembers the insults. "We were vilified. We were called hippies, dropouts, criminals, lesbians, slags. In fact, we were actually teachers, doctors, magistrates and lawyers," says Ms Campbell, an Aberystwyth mother-of -four.
She says she was brought up to believe that she could make a difference. "I had a very idealistic grandmother who brought me up to think that single-handedly I could change the world."
She knew she had to act when she saw a strange-coloured sunset and assumed someone had dropped a bomb. "People were really scared at that time. Reagan was saying 'Bomb Russia'." She eventually gave up her job as an art lecturer to devote more time to the protest, and describes her time with the campaign as the best of her life one of joy and laughter, as well as fear. "My sons and husband were wonderfully supportive. My daughter was very embarrassed. She thought she had the most dreadful mother on the face of the earth. She's just beginning to be proud now."
Ms Campbell, who has also been protesting in Aberystwyth against Operation Infinite Justice, believes the achievements of the Greenham Common women were wide-ranging. "We publicised the dangers around the world. We actually got rid of cruise missiles with other forces and the tree and road protesters learned from us. We also changed women's lives. We now have a lot of Welsh Assembly members who were at Greenham, where they got their confidence." She believes women are naturally drawn to peace. "Both sexes have all qualities, but I do think women are closer to the vulnerability of life. Women do seem to seek consensus, and men do enjoy conflict."
Members of the Co-operative Womens Guild laying a wreath of white poppies at the Cenotaph Armistice Day 1937
JOIN 'CODEPINK' WOMEN FOR PEACE
click for website
A banner by Jo Pate & Giles Bradley
Cold War Arms Negotiator. 1980's
In a dusty lecture theatre with raked seating
One of a series of public meetings
He answered her question.We always put a joker in the pack.
To ensure no chance of agreement, put them on the rack.
What a hack
He told her we all do the same.It's all just a game
Has he no shame
She was a young student with long dark hair.
Through tears she shouted at him.How do you dare!
Can't you see you don't speak for me
It's not what we need .We've a world to feed
Please take a lead.
Her sobbing went on as she pushed away her wet hair.
She wiped her wet face and asked dont you care?
Not the respect he was used to with his silver hair.
He could only stare. Should he be there?
How could he be so wrong exposed to the throng.
The meeting stopped dead. Little more was said.
With anger and fear she sobs, she cries
She brushes the wet dark hair from her eyes
We stumbled outside in the late afternoon sun
He went off alone as he had begun
He fled home to a comfortable life, his unquestioning wife
His freedom from strife.
Back to the UN, His male dominated den, as it was then,
An individual blip but the game goes on
Thalia Campbell. Pembroke 2008 ©
He soon retired and a younger replacement told a prestigious meeting in a roundabout way that he was not proud of the work of the department during the cold war period.
(Poetry replaces my banner making and enlightens ,
cements and shares the past....)
Art by Ian & Thalia Campbell ©
I've just discovered a friend of mine, Monica Sjöö died in 2005. We
spent time with her when she lived in Wales . She was a feminist and
very interested in Godesses, not my main interest . We had a warm
friendship and lots of fun despite our differences but she painted an
iconic work in 1969 - God giving birth.. When the Children were young I
was at her exhibition in Totnes by the quay And I remember the police
were about to arrive and remove this painting. It caused a Sensation at
the time. It had life changing effect on me. I think I owe her a poem. What a bold
depiction of childbirth and what a political statement
A Tribute to Monica Sjöö
A farm gate, a rough track, a grassy space
A simple cottage with no mod cons
We sit on the prickly grass putting the world to rights,
In warm sunshine having some food and a laugh.
Sharing tales in South West Wales of politics, feminism and art
of womens rights and womens fights
We talk of her painting God Giving Birth
Its feminist, pagan and down to earth
All of this is a cause for hopeful mirth
To the police and the church it was quite the reverse
Confiscation, arrest, prosecution and worse.
Whatever our differences we were as one
So much work to be done , such fun
We danced on common ground. so much to be found
Whilst Monica was painting God giving birth.
We painted a rocket penis destroying the earth
We tried change the world, she tried
I tried, I've just found out she's Died.
Years later our paths crossed in Malta.
We were sun seekers enjoying another culture
Monica, tall with long silver hair,
drifting around the holiday complex
changed by age we did not recognise each other
Monica was there for Godesses and Temples
later still she sent me her book.
I realised too late we had seen her in Malta.
Thalia Campbell 2011 ©
Another link to a very interesting Peace site
click to view
Peace tapestry exhibition at Global Connections opening event at the Eastgate centre Monday 23rd January 2006 6.00 till 7.00 p.m.
In the mid 1980s Pembroke resident Thalia Campbell concerned about the hatred of USA at the height of the cold war decided there must be another America to share with people in U.K. In a friends kitchen in North Wales she read the book The Ribbon, A celebration of Life. The ribbon was originally created to mark the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. To make a statement people made ribbon segments they then converged on Washington in their thousands and encircled the Pentagon as well as many main avenues and boulevards. The whole route being lined with people carrying over 17 miles of ribbons from all over the world. The theme running through them all being what you would miss most in event of a nuclear war.
Thalia met the founder of this great idea and brought back some of the thousands of art works made by Americans of all colours, creeds and ages. She raised the money, travelled to Chicago and Milwaukee, and visited the Peace Museum and the homes of rich and poor and listened to their stories. Others heard of the display in the UK and sent more ribbon pieces from Vermont and Oregon.
Justine Merritt the inspiration for the project came over and did a speaking tour. Recently after years of silence because of ill health Justine Merritt now 81 emailed Thalia. She is delighted it will be on show again in Pembroke and we are privileged to be able to see some of this unique piece of history, which has been exhibited and touched people all around the world. Its message is timeless The project is still being run from the U.S and there is a dedicated website http://www.theribbon.org
Thalia has run many workshops around the U.K on the ribbon as well as helping to organise exhibitions. Now in conjunction with Global Connections you can come and see some of the amazing pieces as well as a video about the event in 1985 in Washington. There will also be an amazing Friends of the earth rainforest banner and an Oxfam banner included in the exhibition and it is free and open to all. There will be a private view to launch the exhibition on the evening of Monday the 23rd January 2006
An Exhibition in New Zealand May 2007
A banner by Thalia
We have just opened the Nuclear Free NZ exhibtion here in our Canterbury Museum and it features your banner.....
The phone box covered in stickers has a phone handle you can pick up and
hear 10 mins of the best parts of David Lange's Oxford Union speech... We hope it will go right around the country.
Link to website
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