Brighton Museum to host exhibition celebrating 100 inspiring women

Portraits of 100 pioneering women of the 21st century are to go on show in Brighton.
Suzi Quatro. Photograph: Anita CorbinSuzi Quatro. Photograph: Anita Corbin
Suzi Quatro. Photograph: Anita Corbin

Photographer Anita Corbin’s images of females who achieved firsts in their fields will run at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from February 15.

The touring exhibition, titled 100 First Women Portraits, is the culmination of a 10-year project and will run until June 7.

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Among the trailblazers from Sussex featured are Hope Powell CBE, who manages Brighton & Hove Albion’s women’s team and was the first woman to achieve UEFA Pro coaching licence; Hove resident Odaline De la Martinez, the first woman to conduct the BBC Proms; University of Sussex graduate and Guiness World Record holder Sally Kettle, the first woman to row across the Atlantic with her mother Sarah Kettle; and Elspeth Beard, a former pupil and now governor at Brighton school Roedean, who was the first woman in the UK to ride a motorcycle around the world.

Stars to appear also include singer-songwriter Suzi Quatro, Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, and journalist, newsreader and presenter Angela Rippon.

Corbin, a graduate of the Royal College of Art with more than 40 years of experience behind the lens, travelled across the country to capture the portraits of the women who ‘defy the norm’ and the collection was released in 2018 to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Explaining her inspiration for the project, Anita says: “From ages 18 to 102 years old and in fields of expertise covering everything from beatboxing to bomb detection, I wanted to create an impressive visual archive documenting female ability and achievement, fantastic role models, in order to celebrate the impact women have had on our society over the last 100 years.

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“In a long history dominated by notable males, First Women UK asks: ‘What is it about women that can inspire you?’ These powerful portraits of women are intended to provoke people to look beyond the exterior image and contemplate the essence of the woman it personifies.”

Elspeth Beard. Photograph: Anita CorbinElspeth Beard. Photograph: Anita Corbin
Elspeth Beard. Photograph: Anita Corbin

All the works are framed colour photographs that are over a metre tall, and without glass or mounts.

Anita says she hopes the ‘exhibition will motivate, encourage and empower women and men across all ages and backgrounds and help them see that it is possible to break down barriers – whether gender, social, economic, cultural or political – to unlock their full potential’.

To celebrate the exhibition there will be a series of public talks and events to explore some of the stories of the women in the show and other pioneering women in history.

Entry to the exhibition is free with admission to Brighton Museum.

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