They Came Before Us: Cant Be What You Can't See
They Came Before Us: A History of Women of Colour in the UK (TCBU) project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund made possible with the money raised by National Lottery players. The project is run through Collage Arts, a leading arts development, training and creative regeneration Charity based in the heart of Haringey’s Cultural Quarter.
The project aims to tackle the lack of history focused on women of colour within the UK, specifically London, and to encourage interaction from members of society that don't usually visit museums/galleries or feel represented in such spaces.
Through learning and looking at archive material, this particular project on Lilian Bader offers a response to how myself and 8 other BAME visual artist's interpret and react to her historic life journey that has somewhat been forgotten. We’ve used this opportunity to shine a light on the lack of inclusion of BAME British women in mainstream history.
Lilian Bader was on one of the first black women to join the British Armed Forces back in the 1940s. Born in Liverpool to a Barbadian father who served in the RAF and an Irish mother, Bader fought against racism and worked her way up to becoming an acting corporal in the WAAF. Bader's life story represents perseverance and achievements amidst adversity. Becoming a leading technician in the RAF as a black woman is something that is still not highlighted today. With such a powerful story missed out from such a popular era, our project reimagines what it would have been like for Lilian Bader to be included in mainstream.