Maud Sulter has left such a wonderful legacy in Scotland in terms of the creative work made by women of colour. She organised with other women so they could encourage one another to keep going in the face of the adversity that comes with being creative – a writer, an artist, a poet, a photographer – when the world seems to expect this work only from white, middle class men.
Her work ‘Passion’ is evidence of this work. Women such as Lubaina Himid and Meera Syal were photographed and featured so that the work stands as a testimony to how many amazing, creative women of colour were working at that time.
Maud Sulter’s photography work also documented creative women. Her image of Alice Walker as Phalia represents her so perfectly – her love of flowers, her warm smile and her existence on the earth as a woman of colour, a poet and a human being. I would never have heard of Dorothea Smartt if I hadn’t seen the image ‘Clio’ at Dundee’s McManus Museum. As soon as I knew about her, I went and found as many of her poems as I could.
Maud’s own poetry is often poignant and even painful to read but it’s also brilliant. I strongly recommend you give her work a try. Women speaking out from their own experience is a big part of our self-care work in the VAW programme at Amina, and Maud Sulter’s work is inspirational and reminds us of the importance of speaking out, and what it can lead to.