Two hundred years ago, on 16 August 1819, Manchester's Yeomanry Cavalry rode into thousands of unarmed protesters who were campaigning for political representation. They killed 18 and injured more than 650.
Journalists called the massacre Peterloo after Waterloo, where four years earlier British forces had won a famous battle against Napoleon. Peterloo was the war on the home front - it was a war on the emerging working class movement that was demanding votes and social justice.
The Hidden Project is asking for your help in commemorating this event. Hidden is an ongoing series of photographic tableaux by internationally acclaimed artist and a founder of 'Rock Against Racism' Red Saunders, which re-imagine events from our history, from a time before the era of photography.
The aim of the project is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history.
Hidden is a not-for-profit venture, and we are looking for support from people and organisations who believe in the importance of art and peoples' culture in today's society, to realise the Peterloo work.
The Hidden Project shines photographic light on great moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. Peterloo is the latest in a series that has ranged from the Peasants' Revolt to the Chartists.
This is a re-imagining of John Ball, the Hedgerow Preacher who was prominent on the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.
This is a recreation of a meeting of the London Chartists in Whitechapel, in 1842, with William Cuffay, the son of a slave, who was the elected President of the London Chartists.
More images and more information about the history of the Hidden Project can be found here.
Throughout its decade long existence, the Hidden Project has depended on grass roots supporters, community organisations and trade unions to produce work that has won widespread acclaim.
'Those who see these photographic representations will be able to identify with past generations and gain confidence from the knowledge that they are part of a world-wide movement that has always existed and must be sustained.'
Tony Benn, the original Patron of the Hidden Project
'Red Saunders’ work belongs to the long and honourable tradition of photo journalism that gives it its integrity, authority and authenticity. But that tradition, and Saunders’ work, has been transformed by events and by technology. His work has become something else: with its patience, and its materiality, it has taken on a painterly quality. In spite of itself, it has become art.'
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum London
How it works
Red Saunders’ epic photographs are resource and labour intensive - relying on a mix of volunteers and highly skilled photography and theatre professionals.
Volunteers for the Peterloo shoot queue to register
Each scene is carefully planned and lit, using costumed models in the style of tableaux vivants (living pictures). Hundreds of individual images are taken and then montaged together to suggest photographic ‘evidence’ for events that occurred before the widespread adoption of camera technology.
The initial shoot for the Peterloo Project has been completed and we now need financial support to create the final montages, produce prints, canvasses and displays. We are also preparing for large scale outdoor projections on the images.
Red with some of the production crew in Manchester during the initial shoot held at the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre, Moston , and below, some of the volunteers, in costume, whose images will make part of the final tableaux .
How your donations will be used
Your donations will help pay for equipment and costume hire and the processing of the raw images and their assembly into a tableau. We use volunteers where we can, and highly skilled professionals where necessary, to create the images.
We have some costs outstanding from the initial rounds of shooting and any surplus from the money you donate will be used to fund exhibiting the final works. Please give generously and spread the word.
We have a limited number of rewards to give to those financially supporting the project. Please state which reward you would like when you make your donation.
* Pack of 8 different Hidden Project original images: Donation £25 or above
* Hidden project enamel badge (above) plus 8 original images reward: Donation £50 or above
* T-shirt (above) designed by top Manchester artist/designer Craig Oldham: Donation £100 or above
* Exclusive limited edition (50), numbered and stamped exhibition quality Peterloo A3 Art print signed by Red Saunders: Donation £300 or above
* Exclusive limited edition (50), numbered and stamped exhibition quality print of painting by Tim Sanders (above), signed by the artist: Donation £300 or above
* Exclusive limited-edition handmade Hidden-stamped leather pouch by artist Nina Saunders (above) plus Hidden Project badge £300: Donation or above
* Personal photographic portrait session and A3 fine art print with Red Saunders, in London (time by mutual agreement) Only five available: Donation £1000 or above.