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Bessie's Wings - meet the artists

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The Foundry

17 Oval Way

Vauxhall

London

SE11 5RR

United Kingdom

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Young artists from local schools will give a short lunchtime talk about their artworks currently displayed at the Foundry as part of the Bessie's Wings project. This is part of an ongoing programme of events linking young people, artists and charities to develop skills and networks while exploring issues of human rights and social change.

Bessie's Wings is inspired by the life of the first black woman to earn an international pilot’s licence. Bessie Coleman defied expectations and overcame barriers of the day to fulfil her dream to learn to fly.

All are welcome to visit this free public exhibition any time during The Foundry opening hours.

Background

200 pupils aged 8-14 from eight schools worked with class teachers and specialists using a range of artforms to respond to Bessie Coleman as inspirational but often overlooked figure and to explorer issues of race and gender, social justice, time, memory, lived experiences and future aspirations.

As a child in Texas Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) walked four miles a day to her segregated, one-room school, where she loved maths and reading. She developed an early interest in flying, but as a woman, and as a person of African American and Native American descent, she was not allowed to attend flight school in the US. Undeterred, she learned French and travelled to Paris where she eventually achieved her international pilot’s licence in 1921. She became a celebrity, thrilling crowds with her aerobatic displays, until her untimely death.

Teenagers from Lilian Baylis Technology School used the opportunity to work on canvases with acrylic paint for the first time. They also investigated archive photographs and resources to explore more widely the missing histories of black professional lives in the 19th century.

As part of the project, hundreds of children also met real modern day pilots to learn about flight, meteorology and navigation (and to celebrate maths and science at school) thanks to the Aviatrix Project.

Alongside the art exhibition, nearly 100 children from three; primary schools devised and performed a new opera with a professional creative team from the English Touring Opera. BESSIE'S WINGS A New Opera was performed at Morley College last summer, and shown again at a special screening at the Ritzy Cinema in February.


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Date and Time

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The Foundry

17 Oval Way

Vauxhall

London

SE11 5RR

United Kingdom

View Map

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