Georgina Smith is a Scottish artist and peace activist. She grew up in the West of Scotland and went to art school in London in the 1940s, and later studied at Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. After getting married following her art training and then raising her family in England, she returned to Scotland and has been living since 1990 in a decrofted cottage surrounded by 100 trees planted by her in an otherwise largely treeless area. In the last few decades, she was able to concentrate on developing her art while living alone. Her output includes many lino prints, which she has created using simple tools and materials – floor lino from her house, a Stanley knife, a dessert spoon (she does not have a printing press), ink, and paper. Based on observation of her environment, family and friends, Georgina’s artwork often incorporates elements from her own life.
A core component of Georgina’s life is her anti-nuclear activism, for which she has been imprisoned many times. In the 1980s, she was one of the women at the Greenham Common Peace Camp and was involved, together with Jean Hutchinson, in an appeal to the House of Lords against their convictions of trespass under the MoD’s RAF Greenham Common Byelaws 1985. After her move back to Scotland, she bought Peaton Glen Wood near Coulport and the wood has been used by activists to camp in as a base for anti-Trident protests. While advanced age means it is now difficult for her to be physically involved in direct actions, Georgina remains committed to her opposition to nuclear weapons and militarism. In the film Georgina: ‘Art, Morality and Law’ (dir. Lin Li | 2023 | 57 minutes), which features her artwork, poetry and other items from her personal archive, Georgina talks about her actions and prison experiences, and reflects on what ‘peace’ and ‘activism’ mean to her.
Next screening: Thursday 9 November, 2023, Glasgow Women’s Library