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Powerful work by West Suffolk College students portrays Bury’s Witch Trials

Some of the students' artwork for the witch trials exhibition
Some of the students' artwork for the witch trials exhibition

Young people’s artistic reactions to the infamous Bury St Edmunds Witch Trials are the basis of an exhibition by West Suffolk College Students which opens at Moyse’s Hall Museum today.

The event, at the Bury museum until Sunday evening, sees a powerful collection of 2D and 3D interpretations by fine art students, telling the story of the historic event where several hundred people were put on trial and a group of 18 men and women were hanged on one day in 1645.

These include paintings and screen prints to T-shirts, a skull and a book with a cover made of bark.

The General Art and Design Level 3 students began with a visit to Moyse’s Hall to hear the story of the famous 17th Century trials instigated by the notorious Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins.

They studied the artefacts on show to the public and researched the subject further for their extended diploma.

Emily Russell-Scott, from Exning, said it was a chance to consider the way the women were tortured and exploited.

Her contributions are a skull with half the face built up to show an identity and a strong painting of a naked woman.

Esmee Bloomfield, 17, from Bury, said she thought about the executions and how so many flies would be hovering over the bodies.

“I looked at a dead fly under the microscope and photographed that, then using the images I did screen prints on T-shirts,” said Esmee.

A group of graphics students also tell the story of the trials on a show reel projected inside the museum.

Rachel Sodey, course director, said: “The fact that the project was based on historical events that happened in Bury St Edmunds made students really consider the past.

“It all began in Moyse’s Hall where they learnt about the trials and now it will finish there with their work exhibited alongside the old artefacts from that time. It gives purpose to the project”.

The exhibition is open after 6pm tonight (December 2) and runs through Saturday and Sunday. (We apologise for the incorrect dates given in today’s Bury Free Press).

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