In 1999 OKA was founded by three women as a mail order interiors company. This is a great source of pride and it is in this spirit that we visited Rebel Women, a year-long exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, to mark the centenary of many British women attaining the right to vote. Ultimately, the women who fought for this movement paved the way towards equality for every aspect of modern life.
The exhibitions will celebrate not only the suffrage movement, but also the female pioneers throughout history who have left their indelible mark on the world, the effects of which can still be seen today. Partnerships and collaborations will develop over the year, including displays and a trail which highlights inspirational women.
The current Votes For Women exhibit, which runs until May 13th, features portraits of the key participants in the Suffrage movement, including paintings of Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Dame Christabel Pankhurst as well as surveillance photographs of Suffragettes, issued by Scotland Yard. The vivid descriptions of the tortures these women endured, paired with the profiles of the powerful men (and women) who stood in their way, make for a moving experience that brims with many remarkable tales of courage.
The achievements of these incredible women are only accentuated by the exhibit’s proximity to the modern portraits of female pioneers, which can be found in the contemporary gallery. Women such as Zaha Hadid, the innovative architect and the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize; Dame Kelly Holmes, the gold medal-winning Olympian; Dorothy Hodgkin, Chemist and Crystallographer and the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for Chemistry, to name but a few. It does make one wonder, would the world-changing achievements of these women have been possible had it not been for their predecessors paving the way towards equality?
Votes For Women runs until 13 May 2018