Were you one of the 6,000 people who took part in the ‘Line in the Sand’ demonstration in St Ouen’s Bay in 2009? This is just one of many local campaigns that feature in a new exhibition opening at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery.
‘People! Power! Protest!’ opens on Monday, 19 July and will explore the story of protest in Jersey, from the Corn Riots of 1769 to the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020. Among the items on display will be the official 18th century court records showing the redacted demands of the Corn Riots protestors, and the petition signed by thousands of people to try and save Queen’s Valley from being flooded in the 1980s. There will also be banners and placards from other protests over the years and photographs of significant post-war campaigns and demonstrations.
Lucy Layton, Jersey Heritage’s Outreach Curator, who has curated the exhibition, said: “Jersey may be small but Islanders have made their voices heard loud and clear over the years. We have a fascinating history of protest in the Island and the theme of the exhibition was chosen several years ago to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the Code of Laws that was introduced in response to the Corn Riots. Little did we know back then how much of a hot topic it would be in 2021 following the headline-grabbing protests of international campaign groups, such as Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter, the UK government’s controversial attempts to balance the right to protest with the need to limit sizes of gatherings, and locally, the recent protest by French fishermen over fishing rights following Brexit.
“The exhibition explores how the right to protest has shaped and influenced the Island that we know today, from historic protests, such as the Corn Riots, to more recent protests that some Islanders will have taken part in themselves.”
As people enter ‘People! Power! Protest!’, they will be greeted by a stunning graffiti-style entrance wall that has been spray-painted by designer James Carter, of Midnight Industries. Celebrated local artist Ian Rolls has also created a new version of his iconic climate stripes mural in the environmental protest section of the exhibition.
Visitors will be able to listen to stories of protest and share their own memories of their involvement in campaigns and demonstrations over the years.
‘People! Power! Protest!’ replaces the ‘People Make Jersey – our stories of immigration’ exhibition that closed last month at Jersey Museum. The new exhibition will be open until December 2022.