The Hackney Flashers were a collective of broadly socialist feminist women who produced notable agitprop exhibitions in the 1970s and early 1980s. I recently came into contact with them when I was curating the current Hayward Gallery exhibition, History is Now, in which I included their work Who’s Holding the Baby?, 1978
Who’s holding the Baby? was first shown at the Hayward in 1979 and subsequently collected by Arts Council England. It was a pleasure to return the work to the walls of the Hayward Gallery after all this time.
I consider it still to have a power and urgency, undiminished over time. Something confirmed to me by the individual attention it received during the show from public, critics and curators alike.
Time has been the judge; when the work was first shown at the Hayward Gallery the art establishment were quite snooty towards it, dismissing it as something for a village hall and not worthy of the Hayward. How the worm has turned. Great work with true intentions survives fits and fads of the day, Who’s holding the Baby? represents this resilience and the Hackney Flashers are an inspiration.
History is Now 10 February – 26 April 2015.