NGA turns up the volume on women artists

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Thea Proctor, ‘The rose,’ 1927, NGA, purchased 1975.

POSTPONED from its original May opening because of COVID-19, the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition, “Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now”, has been announced for November.

The exhibition, more comprehensive than originally planned, is being curated by Elspeth Pitt, curator of Australian Paintings and Sculpture, and Deborah Hart, head of Australian Art, who says, “Given the number of significant women artists past and present, this exhibition can only be partial; it is not an endpoint or separate from other endeavours, rather it is part of a continuum and an ongoing reassessment.”

The curatorial team also includes Kelli Cole, curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, and Rebecca Edwards, Sid and Fiona Myer curator of Ceramics and Design.

To coincide with the opening of the exhibition, the NGA will host a three-day conference from November 11-13 celebrating the role of women as artists, researchers, mentors and activists and a major publication delving into the histories and inspirations of a cross-section of Australian women artists.

Dorrit Black, ‘The wool quilt makers,’ 1940 or 1941, NGA, purchased 1982

A part of the “Know My Name” initiative, the expanded exhibition brings together more than 350 works of art including new commissions, performances and works drawn from the national collection, as well as collections from across Australia.

Highlights will include a commission by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers, work by pioneering performance artists Bonita Ely and Jill Orr, a complete edition of Tracey Moffatt’s series of photographs “Something More”, an installation by Justene Williams, and a commission by Jo Lloyd, supported by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin.

As the gallery’s assistant director, curatorial and exhibitions, Natasha Bullock puts it, “We are turning up the volume on the many previously unheard voices in Australian art”.

“Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now”, NGA, from November 13-January 31, 10am-5pm daily. Entry free.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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