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Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now

This summer, catch the NGA's blockbuster exhibition that's bringing women into the spotlight.
By Cordelia Williamson
July 17, 2020
By Cordelia Williamson
July 17, 2020

in partnership with

If you think of famous artists, you may recall the likes of Picasso, Dalí, Monet, Michelangelo, Rothko and Warhol. One thing these artists have in common is none of them are Australian. Another is that they're all men. They are, undoubtedly, some of the greats. But this year the National Gallery of Australia is turning its focus to the Aussie women who have greatly contributed to the arts with an upcoming exhibition. Dubbed Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, the free exhibition kicks off on Friday, November 13 and will run till Sunday, July 4— so you'll have plenty of time to catch it.

The blockbuster exhibition is part of the gallery's ongoing initiative to increase the representation of female artists. As the name suggests, it'll showcase works by artists from the early 1900s to the present day, including some brand-spanking-new commissions. By bringing together artists of different times, as well as cultures, practices and places, the exhibition challenges the assumption of Australian art being male-dominated.

There'll be more than 350 works on display, featuring everything from paintings to performance art and a floor-to-ceiling presentation of the artists' portraits. Highlights include a commission by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers; performance art by Bonita Ely and Jill Orr; Tracey Moffatt's key series of photographs, Something more; a huge painting by the Ken Family Collaborative; and an installation by Justene Williams. You can also expect works by KuKu and Erub/Mer artist Destiny Deacon, leading modernist painter Grace Cossington Smith, famed printmaker Margaret Preston, photographer Rosemary Laing, Anmatyerr artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye and contemporary painter Anne Wallace.

Anne Wallace, 'She Is' 2001 , oil on canvas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Purchased 2002, © Anne Wallace

Coinciding with the exhibition's launch will be a three-day conference, which will bring together established and emerging artists, curators and academics to discuss everything from creative practice to women and gender equity in the arts. The conference will run from November 11–13.

Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now is showing at the NGA from November 13 through July 4, 2021. The gallery is open from 10am–5pm daily and entry is free.

Top images: Yvette Coppersmith, 'Nude selfportrait, after Rah Fizelle' 2016, oil on linen, Private collection, ©Yvette Coppersmith; Roma Butler and Yangi Yangi Fox, from Irrunytju in Western Australia, with their sculptures, 2017, photo: Rhett Hammerton; and Grace Cossington Smith, 'The Bridge in building' 1929, oil on pulboard, National Gallery of Australia,Canberra, Gift of Ellen Waugh 2005.


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