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Published: 04 December 2020

By Andy Ross

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Article of the Week - number forty-three - the wedding dress

Let's Celebrate International Women's Day 2020
Let's Celebrate International Women's Day 2020. 
Courtesy of Koestler Arts

During this strange time lots of creative things are going on and this dress is a celebration of our times. 

The South Bank Centre is closed but the arts venue on the banks of the Thames has played host to animation and pictures, photographs and poetry over the past few months. The windows of the Queen Elizabeth Hall are currently covered with pictures of an exhibition of work entitled No Lockdown in the Imagination. These are pieces made by people who are in the criminal justice system and who have entered the Koestler Arts Awards. This piece is the winner of the Platinum Award 2020 in the Fashion Category. 

Created by women in HMP Bronzefield Let's Celebrate International Women's Day is a 1960's wedding dress, bought from a jumble sale for £5 and then worked on with embroidery, beading, patchwork, applique, crochet, lace and stitching by the Jailbirds Social Enterprise group of Resident Apprentices and Resident Assistants. More than forty Residents with varying degrees of experience took part. Using waste swatches from local British textile manufacturers the piece has been embellished, one of the participants working for several weeks during the first UK lockdown. 

This is a beautiful work of art, full of joy and pride, and fully deserves to be part of the collection for others to see what is possible under the most difficult of circumstances.