press enter to skip content

Welcome to The Higgins

You are here:

Home / Exhibitions / Wings of a Wire Bird

Wings of a Wire Bird

OTWOAW resize

In the new exhibition, ‘On the Wings of a Wire bird’, artist Sophie Gresswell invites you explore mixed heritage and our intersecting journeys. This show follows work in the artist’s home county of Bedfordshire and a residency to her grandfather’s birthplace on the Island of St Helena.

 Sophie 1


This phrase adorns the three main paintings in this show. Three ‘Saint’ women

(St Helenians) from an island you may never have heard of, demand their space in the gallery. Demand their place in our history.


The words are taken from the motto for St Helena island (a British overseas territory in the south Atlantic) ‘Loyal and Unshakable’ – like the whole exhibition the phrase has been taken and re arranged to better reflect our mixed heritage, the roots in empire, the destruction, the survival, the connection and the undeniable impact commonwealth heritage has had, and continues to have, on what it means to be British.


This exhibition is a celebration of this heritage and our mix and is most importantly a space to come together to question and reconnect with our entangled heritage. Enter the exhibition through our collaborative curtain of clay heritage heads. Follow large scale poetry embodying the thoughts of local commonwealth communities from workshops during 2023, where groups confronted the Higgins, Bedford ethological collection. Encounter large scale paintings of Saints with dignity and sass, ‘British’ objects separated from, and searching for context, voices and echoes. The show is the culmination of the beginning of a journey, it is a space to sit with all that has come before and where we are going. Please join us to share experiences, cultures, stories and humanity in a world where so often, we drift apart.


Image for close of WOFAWB

Wings of a Wire Bird Closing Ceremony

Sunday 9 June 2024, 2 – 4pm

Join us to see Ananda Arts' Odissi dance performance that reflects their responses to The Higgins Bedford collections and the Wings of a Wire Bird exhibition. There will also be open mic poetry session that you are invited to to listen to or share your own poetry with the audience.