At venues in and around Newbury, Jemima Brown’s Peace Camp project celebrates the women of the Greenham Common peace camp. This exhibition at West Berkshire Museum, along with satellite exhibits around the town, marks the 40th Anniversary of the arrival in 1981 of the peace camp at Greenham Common. We are thrilled to be one of the venues hosting some of Jemima’s work during the trail.
In 2011 on the 30th anniversary of the anti-nuclear protests at Greenham Common, the artist embarked upon a body of work in sculpture and installation depicting the women of the peace camp. The sculptures, made at approximately 1/3 life size, fuse figurative portraits with found objects – thermos flasks, hurricane lamps and camping stoves, standing in for body parts.
In 2021, she explores in the work, childhood memories of being at the periphery of the Greenham protest and contemplates its significance in turbulent times 40 years on.
Considering the global picture, it is timely to note the direction of travel for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, whilst the 2021 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill points to the parlous state of the right to protest. Now is perhaps a particularly good moment to recall the events at Greenham Common 40 years ago.West Berkshire Museum, Newbury
Ground Floor – 18 August 2021 to 30 April 2022
Gallery 5 – 24 September 2021 to 30 April 2022.
Additional art works can be found at:
Old Chapel Textile Centre – 17 August to 30 November 2021
Corn Exchange – 18 August to 15 October 2021
Empire Café – 20 August to 15 October 2021
Honesty at The Base – 2 September to 30 November 2021
Newbury Library – 2 September to 30 November
Greenham Control Tower – 4 September to 28 November
Runway Gallery, The Base – 15 October to 30 November.
FREE ENTRY – the Runway Gallery is open 8am until 5pm Monday to Sunday.
About the artist
Born in Oxford in 1971, Jemima Brown has been practising as a visual artist since receiving an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art in 1995 and is now based near Margate on the South-East coast.
Past awards include a Fulbright Scholarship as a guest of the Graduate Program at University of California Los Angeles and the Cocheme Fellowship at University of the Arts, London. In 2011, she received the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award at Standpoint Gallery in London. Recent projects include ‘The Great Indoors’ in 2019, at Sidney Cooper Gallery at Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury.
This project has been generously supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The Women Who Took On The British Government’s Nuclear Programme
In 1981 a group of women, angered by the decision to site cruise missiles (guided nuclear missiles) in the UK, organised a protest march from Cardiff, Wales to Greenham Common Air Base near Newbury in Berkshire. Here they set up what became known as the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.
Between 1981 and 1983 the protesters attempted to disrupt construction work at the base. Their methods included blockading the base and cutting down parts of the fence. In December 1982 more than 30,000 women gathered at Greenham to join hands around the base at the ‘Embrace the Base’ event.
espite the efforts of the protesters, in November 1983 the first cruise missiles arrived at Greenham. However, protests continued throughout the rest of the 1980s. Many women faced court cases, fines and sometimes imprisonment for their actions. Newbury District Council tried many times to close the camp by evicting protesters but were unsuccessful. The numbers of women at the camp dwindled over time but it remained standing.
In 1987 US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which paved the way for the removal of cruise missiles from Greenham. Between 1989 and 1991 all the missiles sited at Greenham were removed. The United States Air Force left the base in 1992 and were soon followed by their British counterparts. The Peace Camp remained as a continuing protest against nuclear weapons and the last of the Greenham women left the base in September 2000, 19 years after they’d first arrived.
Today Greenham no longer belongs to the military. Part of it is a business park and the rest is common land.