5 Female Artists Who Should Be On Your Radar
Meet the women shaping Australian art culture.
A nationwide event that celebrates the work of Australian women artists.
In 2019, an independent artist-run initiative called The Countess Report crunched the data on how women were seen to be contributing to the Australian art world and found, while 72 percent of art school graduates are women, women make up only 25 percent of the Australian art collection at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA).
To address this historical imbalance, the NGA spearheaded a public initiative to recognise the ways in which women have shaped art across centuries.
Running into 2021, ‘Know My Name’ invites the world to witness more art by female artists, listen to their stories, and recognise their names.
As part of the Know My Name initiative, for six weeks, more than 1500 static and digital locations across metro and regional Australia will showcase artworks by Australian women artists from the national collection, celebrating their contributions to the industry and public life.
It’s an invitation to both institutions and audiences to keep advocating for the representation of female artists and valuing their work. Here are five featured artists we’d love you to know more about.
Hobson lives and works in her hometown of Coen, a remote Indigenous community in Far North Queensland, and grew up in the Cape York Peninsula. As a child, she explored the land with her grandparents, noticing the intricate details of the natural world and creating art with sticks, leaves and vines.
Vast mountain ranges, rivers, woodland and the sea offer her inspiration for her work. As a photographer, ceramicist and painter, she captures vivid, contrast-coloured patterns of energy and space in both landscapes and seascapes. Her work is socially and politically charged, too, showing both her and her family’s connection to the land of her ancestors, and also looks at how young Indigenous people express identity and gender.
Sydney-based Cherine Fahd is a photographer, writer and academic. Since the ‘90s, she’s been using photography to challenge its usefulness as a historical record. Much of her work is also created by sourcing images from family photo archives, and bringing personal stories into the public realm. Her work is humorous and sly, questioning why we rely on first impressions, stereotypes, and assumptions in social situations.
This Sydney-based art collective, formed by Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra, collaborates with members of the queer Asia Pacific diaspora in Australia and the Philippines, giving artists space to imagine new futures for themselves.
With shared Filipino heritage, Shoulder and Ra’s work explores the body as an artmaking tool, and sees them immersed in Sydney’s underground nightlife and queer communities through performances, videos, and collective activations.
eX de Medici
Canberra-based visual artist eX de Medici’s body of work has often explored the ugliest parts of modern society – corporate greed, war profiteering and corruption – wrapped up in bright, contrasting colour schemes. The aim is to get us thinking about how we are complicit in these issues, not just pointing fingers.
Artistically, eX de Medici is interested in visual mediums that aren’t given enough credit in the art world – biro, coloured pencil, photocopy, tattooing, watercolour – and uses recurring symbols such as guns and skulls to expose fragility, vulnerability and political concerns.
A highly respected Traditional Kitja Elder and Warmun artist, Mabel Juli was known as one of the great First Generation Ochre artists. Ochre is one of the principal foundations of Indigenous art, and many artists – including Juli – use the traditional ochre pigments, which have a soft, earthy quality, in their paintings.
Juli began painting in the mid-‘80s, encouraged by other artists like Queenie McKenzie and Madigan Thomas. Her art often explores Darrajayin (Springvale Station) country and Traditional Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) stories such as Marranyji and Jiyirriny. Her work preserves the stories passed down through generations of her family, questioning ideas of womanhood, kinship and mortality.
Know My Name celebrates the significant contributions of Australian women artists. For more information about Know My Name and the National Art Event in partnership with oOh!media visit nga.gov.au
(Images courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.)