Franki Raffles, Soviet Women © Franki Raffles Estate, all rights reserved.
Franki Raffles: Photography, Activism, Campaign Works
May 11, 2024 – Mar 16, 2025
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead, UK

Baltic presents the first major retrospective exhibition of feminist, activist, social documentary photographer Franki Raffles (1955–1994). Raffles documented the lives of women in the UK, predominantly in Scotland, and during travels with her family in the 1980s across the Soviet Union (Russia, Georgia and Ukraine), China, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Israel and Palestine. In Edinburgh she worked as a freelance photographer with schools and women’s groups. Her photography focused attention on women’s lives and their work, addressing issues such as inequality, gendered violence, disability, activism and sisterhood.

The exhibition, Franki Raffles: Photography, Activism, Campaign Works, will concentrate on her astonishing creative output over a period of ten years from 1984–94 when she was most active. During this time, she produced around 40,000 images, the majority now residing in the Franki Raffles Photography Collection at the University of St. Andrews. The exhibition will bring together photographs, many shown publicly for the first time, alongside archive material contextualising her work.

Raffles was born in Salford and studied at University of St. Andrews. Following her graduation, she moved to Lewis, then to Edinburgh. She exhibited at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh; Mercury Gallery, London; The Corridor Gallery, Fife; Pearce Institute, Glasgow; and First of May Gallery, Edinburgh. Raffles’ life was tragically cut short when she died in childbirth at the age of only 39.

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