In the early 1900s, several Suffragettes were imprisoned at Holloway, and force-fed after they embarked on hunger strikes in protest of their treatment. In 1918, Constance Markievicz, a fighter in the Easter Rising of 1916, arrived at Holloway, and during her time incarcerated she won election to the Second Dáil in the elections of 1921. In 1955, Ruth Ellis was the last women in the United Kingdom to be executed. Only last year, in January 2016, Sarah Reed committed suicide in her cell, where she was kept waiting for nine weeks for a mental health evaluation.
Now, just three decades after the prison was rebuilt from scratch, the site is set to be completely repurposed and developed into housing. This exhibition seeks to ask questions of this transformation: What does it mean to turn a place of incarceration into a place of probable luxury? How can a new housing development go ahead, while remaining conscious of the history of the site?
This exhibition is an attempt to explore Holloway as the confluence of many issues: women’s rights, mental health, gentrification and the current upheaval of the prison system.
On Thursday 8th February Pilion will host a screening of J. Lee Thompson’s 1956 film ‘Yield to the Night,’ starring Diana Dors as Mary Hilton. The film presents Mary in the shadow of her execution, as she retells a chain of events that drove her to murder. The film bears a striking resemblance to the case of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed at Holloway in 1955.
The exhibition will run until Friday 23rd February.
Artists and Contributors:
Charlotte W. Stubbs http://www.cwstubbs.com