February Round-Up: Women-Centred Arts and Culture around Australia
Each month, I curate a list of exhibitions, cultural events, theatre and book launches that have a woman or women at the centre.
Deeds not Words: Women’s Suffrage in Britain
National Library of Australia
Until August 2018
There is no better place to start than a new exhibition in Canberra exploring the visual culture of the women's suffrage campaign.
Based on the Library’s Bessie Rischbieth collection of suffrage memorabilia, this exhibition celebrates the centenary of female suffrage in Britain. I was a contributor to the NLA’s public campaign to raise money for the Rischbeith collection's cataloguing and conservation, so it’s a joy to see this exhibition come to fruition.
Jenny Watson: The Fabric of Fantasy
Heide Musuem of Modern Art
Until 4 March
If you missed the excellent Jenny Watson retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney last year, you can now catch it at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne.
Curated for the MCA by Anna Davis, the exhibition presents a well edited selection of Watson’s work from the 1970s to the present, and is a must see for Watson devotees as well as new comers to the artist's work.
Louise Paramor; Mel O’Callagan; Del Kathrun Barton; Helen Maudsley
Ian Potter Centre for Australian Art
Until 12 March
Running throughout February are four excellent, separate exhibitions featuring Australian women artists at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia. Louise Paramor's specially commissioned, site specific installation 'Palace of the Republic' is an exuberant and playful commentary of modern art and design. Look out for the artist-led collage-making workshop later in the month. Mel O'Callagan's large scale video installation 'Ensamble, 2013' is being presented for the first time in Australia, after showing in the artist's adopted city of Paris at the Centre Pompidou.
'Del Kathrun Barton: The Highway is a Disco' is the largest exhibition yet of the two time Archibald Prize-winning artist's work, showing a broad survey of drawings and paintings alongside collage, textiles and film. Also until March 12 is 'Helen Maudsley: Our Knowing and Not Knowing', showcasing the recent work of the iconic Melbourne artist, who is has exhibiting since 1957.
WE ARE HERE: contemporary artists explore their queer cultural heritage
State Library of Victoria
Until 1 April
Drawing on archival material from the State Library of Victoria’s collections, this exhibition features five contemporary visual artists whose work re-imagines and re-interprets Queer history and identity.
This is an audacious and ncessary exhibition, cuarated by Angela Bailey.
Sigrid Australian Tour
February 23 - 28
A recent discovery of mine and winner of the BBC's prestigious Sound of 2018 prize, Norwegian singer/songwriter Sigrid is touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time this month. Sigrid's 2017 single 'Don't Kill my Vibe' was inspired by a disappointing writing session with condescending, older male songwriters, and has been labelled a 'feminist anthem' for the millennial generation by The Telegraph.
Black is the New White
Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney
February 28 - March 10
Written by Nakkiah Lui and directed by Paige Rattray, this contemporary romantic comedy was the breakout hit of the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2017 season. Now the retelling of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is back in the STC’s biggest theatre, starring Charlotte Gibson as a successful Aboriginal lawyer, who brings her white fiancé, an experimental musician, home to meet the family. The Sydney Morning Herald calls it, 'A bustling, astute and questioning social comedy on identity politics'.
Single Asian Female
Belvior Theatre Surrey Hills
February 15 – 25 March
After débuting at Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre last year, this original, joyful and insightful comedy from writer Michelle Law opens in Sydney this month. Directed by Claire Christian, the play explores themes of race and gender against the backdrop of a suburban Chinese restaurant on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Her Body and other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I can’t wait to read this National Book Award long-listed short story collection, out this month in Australia from Allen and Unwin. Featuring eight genre-bending modern fables, the collection deals with themes of violence, femininity, eroticism and rage and has been likened to the work of Angela Carter and Helen Oyeyemi.
Hera Lindsay Bird, 'Pyramid Scheme'
If you aren’t already familiar with New Zealander Hera Lindsay Bird’s fierce, provocative and often hilarious poetry, this new piece published in the February 2018 edition of Poetry magazine is a fantastic place to start. As a bonus, Bird has curated the magazine’s February playlist, which makes a perfect accompaniment to all your online feminist reading throughout the month. Bird explains, 'I could have made you an atmospheric playlist of Scandinavian tree-felling music, but sometimes the best things in life are obvious. And if you’re already bored of Aretha Franklin, then what’s wrong with you?'