National Gallery of Australia holds exhibition to celebrate work of women artists

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CANBERRA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has launched an exhibition to celebrate the work of Australian women artists.

The exhibition, "Know my name: Australian women artists 1900 to now," opened to the public on Saturday as one of the biggest displays of arts by Australian women.

Showcasing more than 400 works by 170 artists with two parts over the course of a year, it encourages visitors to celebrate the role of women in the nation's cultural life.

The Know My Name initiative was launched last year after research revealed only a quarter of the NGA's Australian art collection was by women.

Deborah Hart, co-curator of the exhibition at the NGA, told Xinhua that they wanted to have an exhibition especially dedicated to women artists to see "how the world was looked through the eyes and through the works of women."

At the entrance of the exhibition there is a wall of portraits of women. "We wonder when people came in, without looking at the labels, will they know the names of the artists," said Hart. "That is why we call the exhibition 'Know my name'."

Themes through the exhibition include images of women by women, country and environmental consciousness recognizing the importance of First Nations people, dynamism and abstraction, collective and collaborative ways of working, and feminism and matrilineal connections across generations.

Hart talked about the work of Lindy Lee, whose ancestors were from China, in a room exploring memory and ancestry. Lee's work, called The Unconditioned, was based on the ancient Chinese practice of "flung ink painting."

"We are so lucky to have so many different artists from different countries who have come to Australia and continue to make great contribution," said the curator.

Alison Alder, a 62-year-old artist, had two of her works at the exhibition. One of the works was completed in 1988, the bicentennial year of Australia. "It was a time to recognize our past and move forward to a more just future," she said in an interview with Xinhua.

The screen print work featured the shape of a heart, a ship, local floral pattern and hands.

"It is about people working together, black and white people working together, looking back into history and thinking about the future," said Alder.

Talking about the exhibition, she said, "It is a very timely and beautiful exhibition which moved me to tears."

"We hope that visitors will come and learn more about women," said Deborah Hart. Enditem

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