A celebration of women Call for submissions for new ‘Book of Belles’ project

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the celebration of International Women’s Day and to mark this auspicious occasion, local women have been invited to contribute to an intriguing new project - ‘The Book of Belles’.

Several creative workshops to help plan and create submissions will begin next week.

Drawing very loosely on the name and idea Book of Kells (written at that time by men and for men) the idea emerged from the multi cultural arts group in the Derry Women’s Centre to create this ‘Book of Belles’; and a coalition of groups including Eden Place Arts Centre, the Tower Museum and Waterside Women’s Centre are now undertaking this as a commemorative piece to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. ‘The Book of Belles’ is participative, pluralistic and creative project which will evoke memory, inspire and be a beautiful testament to women’s lives past, present and future.

The very first International Women’s Day was launched on 19 March 1911 and it took the form of a demonstration because of a failure in European counties to recognise the labour of women and extend the franchise to women. In 1913 International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments resulting in International Women’s Day being marked by a national holiday.

In Northern Ireland it is often a day when women’s achievements are recognised, in ways which cut across the identity, ethnic, cultural, economic, linguistic or political divisions. It has been an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the opportunities that await future generations of women.

Women with a creative interest are invited to participate in this project by submitting an illustrative piece of ‘one woman’ who is important to the artist or illustrator. The woman may be someone you know well and who has meant something to you in your daily and personal life, for example, she may be a full time mother or grandmother, or she may be someone who has played a vital role in the life of local community e.g. a farmer’s wife or a business woman, or be a woman who has had played a role in public life, or indeed or a woman relatively or be a woman who made a valuable contribution to community and society but whose actions largely went unnoticed, but whose actions who regard as being important to share and remember through the book of Belles. The piece submitted may indeed be a self portrait!

‘The Book of Belles’ invites submissions from all women, regardless of community background, country of origin, age, sexuality etc. It is hoped up to 100 women will be included.

All submission will be on or attached to specific paper, individually framed and beautifully bound in an illustrated leather cover. The Book of Belles will be launched on Monday, March 8, 2011 - the global date for International Women’s Day. Each art piece will be informed by your own chosen two dimensional medium e.g. an ink or pencil drawing, embroidery, painting, photography, screen print, it can be montage/collage, include or be mostly text or poetry etc.

The Paper submissions are to be made on is being provided in workshops or can be availed of by making contact with the Artist Co Ordinators Roisin or Judi. `

The following workshops are set up to provide a space for any women to attend and to discuss with an artist any issues about creating their own piece.

Tuesday, January 11 - Derry Women’s Centre 9.30-11.30 or 12noon – 1.30pm

Wednesday, January 12 - Eden Place Arts Centre, 11am-1pm

Friday, January 14 - Waterside Women’s Centre, 11.30-1pm

If you are unable to attend any of the following workshops but wish to take part, you are invited to drop into the Multi Cultural Arts Group which takes place any Tuesday in Derry Women’s Centre 9.30am to 11.30am and speak with Roisin O’Donnell, and or contact Judi Logue on Arts T: 71. 269418 to make another appointment with an artist to discuss ideas, technical and expressive elements.

To find out more about the project in general, contact the Project Co-Ordinator Ruth Moore on: 07843279807 or email: rcmdevelopmentconsulting@yahoo.co.uk. Deadline for submissions will be Wednesday, January 26, when all final pieces must be delivered to Judi Logue at Eden Place Arts Centre at Pilot’s Row, Bogside, Derry.