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‘Know My Name’ continues with three new women-led exhibitions

Know My Name, the National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) gender-equality initiative, will continue with three new women-led exhibitions, the first of which opens mid-June.

Part two of Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now will be displayed at the Gallery from 12 June to 26 January; Project 1: Sarah Lucas will be displayed 7 August to 13 February, and touring exhibition, Spowers & Syme, will open at the Canberra Museum and Gallery from 14 August until 24 October.

Natasha Bullock, assistant director of artistic programs at the NGA, said Know My Name marked a moment of major transformation for the Gallery when the initiative launched in 2019.

Know My Name is only the start of an extraordinary era of collecting, exhibiting and presenting the work of women artists to the wider Australian public,” Bullock said.

“Elevating women artists now and into the future is being embedded into the culture of the Gallery. While art and artists are fundamental to this initiative, our aim is to ultimately lead the conversation to transform the cultural landscape of Australia.”

With part two of the exhibition, Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now will continue its evolution as one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of art by women ever assembled in Australia.

Mainly drawn from the national collection, Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now continues to propose alternative histories, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the achievements of more than 250 artists.

Co-curators of the exhibition, Dr Deborah Hart and Elspeth Pitt, emphasise that this is still an exhibition – and a broader conversation – that we need to have in Australia.

Project 1: Sarah Lucas‘ brings together recent work by one of England’s most influential and unapologetic artists. Artwork: Girl, 2019, Sarah Lucas (installation view).

“Australian women artists are truly extraordinary. We hope by presenting Know My Name in two parts with different artists and themes, we reiterate to the public the significance of these artists – and the importance of recognition into the future,” said Hart and Pitt.

Project 1: Sarah Lucas brings together recent work by one of England’s most influential and unapologetic artists.

Over the past 30 years, Lucas has built an illustrious career challenging the social constructs of gender through sculpture, photography and performance – and curator Peter Johnson wants Australians to know her name.

“I think Australians are going to love Lucas – who uses crude and humorous imagery to explore the representation of gender and confront the realities of bodily existence,” said Johnson.

Celebrating the artistic friendship of Melbourne artists Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme, the Know My Name touring exhibition – Spowers & Syme – will present the changing face of interwar Australia through the perspective of two pioneering women artists.

The National Gallery’s curator of Australian prints and drawings, Dr Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax, hopes that regional audiences will add the names Spowers and Syme to their knowledge of ground-breaking women artists from the era including Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor, Dorrit Black and Grace Cossington Smith.

“Spowers and Syme are often overlooked in Australian art history, yet during the 1930s they were recognised by peers as being among the most progressive artists working in Melbourne,” Noordhuis-Fairfax said.

Spowers & Syme will tour nationally following its stint at the Canberra Museum and Gallery later this year.

Celebrating the artistic friendship of Melbourne artists Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme, Spowers & Syme will present the changing face of interwar Australia through the two pioneering women artists. Artwork: The bamboo blind, Ethel Spowers.

Click here for more information on the three exhibitions.

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