The Other Art Fair London presents Henny Beaumont’s Disappearing Women
For its October London edition at The Old Truman Brewery, The Other Art Fair is proud to present Henny Beaumont’s moving series Disappearing Women. This hand illustrated collection of portraits by freelance illustrator and political cartoonist Henny Beaumont will be on display at the fair for the first time since its conception. It depicts the 118 women who lost their lives at the hands of men in Britain between 11th March 2020 and 11th March 2021. The series aims to raise funds and awareness for the Centre for Women’s Justice and the Femicide Census. Beaumont also intends to provide each of the victims’ families with a signed portrait of their loved one as a symbol of remembrance and respect. Henny Beaumont hopes the project will, “put faces to the names, to show others these are real people who lost their lives”.
On International Women’s Day 2020, Jess Phillips MP read the names of the 118 women killed by men that year in the House of Commons and Beaumont realised the only name she had previously heard of was Sarah Everard. From this, her drawing project was born as part of a drive towards remembering, honouring, and making all these women visible.
Beaumont noticed the disparity between press and public attention surrounding the Sarah Everard case and the tragic deaths of other women during the same period. She questioned the biases we face in society and the reasons why certain cases are foregrounded while others are forgotten, Beaumont comments, “It made me curious about all these other women and why we didn’t know them. I wanted to create a memorial to them.” In order that no woman is excluded from the project, where an image is unavailable, Beaumont paints flowers and the woman’s name in place of a portrait.
The project draws our attention to the sad truth that a woman is killed by a man every three days in the UK and seeks to remember these women as they were rather than as victims of a violent crime. Beaumont described the process of making the portraits as very personal, she seeks to picture the victims compassionately and honour the valuable contributions they have made in their lives and the loved ones they leave behind. She comments, “It feels very positive to do something for the families, to show them that their loved ones are still remembered and cared about.”
Alongside the final portraits, Beaumont films herself creating each one then reverses the video. These animated watercolour paintings allow the viewer to see the woman disappear leaving a blank page onto which each woman’s name appears as a tribute. The videos operate as a poignant reminder that these women have very sadly been lost and must continue to be honoured and remembered. Through offering an emotional reminder of loss, the videos also urge us to act in support of causes that protect and promote women’s rights and safety.