CommonAs - Pioneer

Pioneer art installation logo

From 1 to 31 August visit 'Pioneer' a contemporary art installation focusing on the life and passions of Emily Massingberd.

The exhibition is a contemporary work celebrating the life and spirit of the inspirational Emily Massingberd, women’s rights campaigner and nineteenth century heiress of Gunby Hall.

Emily Massingberd (1847-1897)
Photo of Emily Massingberd
Emily Massingberd (1847-1897)

For the exhibition artist collective CommonAs, with the participation of craftspeople and National Trust volunteers, intend to create an installation exploring the life of this remarkable woman. Known for her tireless work in support of temperance and the well being of women, her many achievements include founding the Pioneer Club, one of the first and most influential female members’ clubs, and being one of the first women to run for public office.

" With the participation of a range of contributing artists and the community at National Trust’s Gunby Hall, we will offer a new contemporary artwork inspired by the achievements and personality of the pioneering social activist Emily Massingberd. In the spirit of Emily ‘Pioneer’ will be a series of installed artworks made to celebrate, entertain, engage and prompt questions."
- Lesley Farrell, CommonAs

The installation will surround visitors in a series of artist made objects brought together as a contemporary reflection of Emily’s interests, passions and opinions. This playful assemblage will offer the visitor the opportunity to consider her unconventionality, energy and motivations. It will incorporate references to the Pioneer Club, Emily’s capacity for subversion and her time at Gunby, created in an intriguing mix of neon, mirror, photography and handcrafted seating, and will include recipe ideas for temperance inspired mocktails created by Gunby volunteers.

Mocktails made by Gunby volunteers
Mocktails made by Gunby volunteers
Mocktails made by Gunby volunteers

Craftspeople contributing to the installation include furniture maker Chris Twigg, artist and neon fabricator Julia Bickerstaff, photographer David Dales and volunteers at Gunby Hall.

Neon sign being fabricated by artist Julia Bickerstaff
Neon sign for Pioneer exhibition
Neon sign being fabricated by artist Julia Bickerstaff

The project forms part of The National Trust’s 2018 year-long celebration of Women and Power, marking 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act.

Visit 'Pioneer' throughout August, daily from 11am to 5pm in Orchard Gallery, the former squash court nestled in the gardens.