Catching light and image, the transformative Suffragette revives the power of the women’s movement in the present tense. Its polished and poised I-form echoes the voices of nineteenth-century activists who fought for the vote and the right for women to be defined legally as a ‘person’. A film of jet-black documents the inked signatures of 25,000 women on petitions to Parliament and the 90,290 who voted in 1893, demonstrating how collective human rights depend on individual acts of strength. A Roman numeral for One or First, the I-form commemorates New Zealand’s leadership as the first nation granting women the vote. As a first person pronoun, it revives a second wave feminist tenet: the personal is political, and reclaims the pronoun as contemporary currency. Independent and androgynous, the toughened text asserts new ground and, in the highly reflective surface, includes every-one.
Each sculpture is signed and numbered but the edition is open because there can be no limit on the number of Suffragettes.