Work by Yvonne Tweedie :: Poem by Gerda Stevenson
And the Women’s Coalition Danced
Elizabeth Meehan, born Edinburgh, 1947, died West Linton, 2018; the first female Professor of Politics on the island of Ireland, at Queen’s University, Belfast; the first woman to serve as Chair and also President of the UK Political Studies Association; her many honours include a UACES award marking her contribution to European Community Studies; active in the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, a cross-community Republican and Unionist political party, which contributed to the peace process resulting in the Good Friday Agreement.
From Quines by Gerda Stevenson
On first reading this poem I knew I just had to try to illustrate the feelings it rekindled. As someone who was born in Northern Ireland the events leading up to the signing of The Good Friday Agreement remain clear in my mind and have been greatly enhanced by the imagery in this poem.
Within the mixed media panel ‘Legacy’ I have reproduced images representing the legacy of terrorism, conflict and confrontation where the gun was all powerful. I felt it was important to create texture through the use of words associated with the events. Although hidden within the work these included the words of the naysayers, the signatories of the agreement and reflections on the conflict itself.
The work aims to represent the long, risky journey from violence to peace and towards respect and equality within Stormont. A referendum was held in Northern Ireland to determine whether there was support for the Agreement. As the result was announced, a majority in favour, the Women’s Coalition danced, deflecting the world’s cameras from the naysayers and projecting an image of celebration.