April 21, 2021

How Can We Help All Of Our Society To Reclaim The Night?

Fiona Burrows

Pigment And Bleach On CanvasReclaim The Night!, 2020120 x 180cm

In 2020 I was drawn to this glowing, misty scene in my local park, enchanted by the beautiful atmosphere. We had recently gone back into Lockdown and papers were running headlines such as “Almost three-quarters of women scared of exercising outdoors in dark amid lockdown” (The Independent). As a painter, I am defiant in my determination to share my delight in these spaces: magical glowing lights, and the blurring of forms that happens after the sun fades and the streetlights glint instead. In winter (when it’s dark by 5pm) I won’t usually take the direct commute home through the park. As a solo female, once the sun sets my usual routes no longer belong to me. The recent murder of Sarah Everard spotlighted the issue of women’s safety in our public spaces. For a moment. But when nights with friends end we still instruct “Text me when you get home” to confirm their safe return. This is not a new discussion. Repeated studies ask women “What would you do if there were no men on Earth for 24 hours?”. The answer again and again: “walk alone at night”. How can we help all of our society to reclaim the night?