women’s bureau of rebellion

The Women’s Bureau of Rebellion is a secret society that documents the true stories of mischievous, passionate and strong Island women. Pay a visit to learn about why Ventnor mothers took Ronald Reagan to court, who the National Trust Gangsters were and how a queer speedboat racer became the Queen of a Bahamian Island.

The Installation:

My aim was to create a space that brought together work from different women, telling stories of inspiring women with a connection to the Isle of Wight. I commissioned Danielle Cheverton to write a selection of poetry inspired by Joe Castairs; a queer speedboat racer and oil heiress who went on to buy a a Bahamian Island and build her own mini country. Alongside Danielle’s poetry I displayed a selection of trophies, clothes and puppets made by Teresa Grimaldi, a fantastic local artist who had previously created an exhibition on Joe Carstairs.

I then commissioned Rhiannon Cobb to create a short film about Ferguson’s Gang (see below). Ferguson’s Gang was formed in 1927 by a group of eccentric and passionate young women who aimed to raise awareness of the need to protect rural areas. They raised money, bought land and buildings and donated it all to the National Trust. Combining spectacle and campaigning in a way that had not been seen before, they are regarded as forerunners of modern groups like Pussy Riot and Guerrilla Girls. They saved Newtown Old Town Hall on the Isle of Wight from dilapidation.

The third story was of Bridget Boudwijn and Sue Bolton, Ventnor mothers who formed the Ventnor Women for Life on Earth group to protest nuclear weapons in the 1980’s. They organised debates and film screenings and protested on the Island, in Portsmouth and in Parliament. They joined the women at Greenham Common and Sue even went on to travel to the U.S. to take Ronald Reagan to court. I met with them both as they still live in Ventnor, they were so warm, inspiring and kind, I was truly moved by their compassion. Bridget was kind enough to let me use some of the photos from Greenham Common and other events. My twin sister Jodie Redrup loved Bridget’s Greenham Common banners and hand made a replica for me to use.

On Wednesday I went on a little adventure to find the Women’s Bureau of Rebellion. I could see the posters all around town and I wanted in.
— The Ventnor Fringe Revie, Issue 36

This project was supported by the Mike Howley Trust