Exhibiting women's right to vote
The exhibition entitled Voice: Women's Salon features prominent artists who have completed works befitting the theme of "women gaining the vote in Victoria"
The exhibition entitled Voice: Women's Salon features prominent artists who are living and working in the Moreland area, such as Efrossini Chaniotis, Stephani Karavasilis and Flora Georgiou, as well as many other female artists who have completed works befitting the theme of "women gaining the vote in Victoria". 100 years on, the exhibition takes a feminist, political and personal view of how women's voices are being heard throughout.
An annual event that has being going on at the gallery for two decades, Melissa Kavanagh from the Counihan Gallery told Neos Kosmos that although the exhibition normally takes place in March - on International Women's Day - they decided this year to host the event in November to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of women gaining the vote in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
"The exhibition originally started as a way of addressing the under representation of women in the arts, in the gallery sector in particular, and to provide an opportunity for women to exhibit in a public gallery space."
The event was launched by the Hon Joan Kirner who spoke about her experiences as a female in politics. She discussed her public life, the scrutiny she underwent and her role in terms of maintaining profile in the broader community.
The theme has been explored in the exhibition through a variety of mediums. Fren Smith and Efrossini Chaniotis pay moving tribute to significant figures such as Lady Millie Peacock and Doris Blackburn.
"Many of the artists have responded to the themes directly through portraiture. There's a personal tribute to an artist's grandmothers - personalising their story.
There's a good mix of media, a lot of text in the show, some sculptures, writing, two moving image works," explains Kavanagh.
She said some of the work takes on a historical perspective, some a more political commentary about what the vote has achieved and how women have been accepted in public life and what differences they face in daily life - and some take on a cheeky perspective of the public voice of women.
"They all respond to theme and they are all good works in their own right," she said. "There's lots of interesting elements. There's even a lovely woven brass and copper sculpture of a heart, that's palm sized. It's a warm and intimate piece. It responds to theme, but not in an overt way so it's subtle and lovely."
Voice: Women's Salon is running until 17 Dec at Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick. There will be an Artists in Conversation event on Sat 10 Dec at 2.30 pm at the gallery.
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