The National Gallery of Australia has launched a major ongoing campaign, #knowmyname, to recognise and celebrate Australian women artists. The campaign will include social media and digital activations, outdoor media, research, fundraising, exhibitions, retail partnerships and creative collaborations.
Taking it in to 2020, the National Gallery will unveil a significant exhibition of Australian women artists across its gallery spaces with the intent to tour the exhibition throughout Australia in 2021. The National Gallery will also exclusively show only female artists in the 20th century display of Australian art from May to October next year.
New artist commissions are underway including an exciting work by Patricia Piccinini to be unveiled in March as part of the celebrated Balnaves Contemporary Intervention series. The work of this year’s Venice Biennale artist Angelica Mesiti will also be part of the 2020 program.
“We want to do more than have a conversation about equality, we want to take action and address the significant imbalance before us,” said Nick Mitzevich, Director of the National Gallery of Australia. “The value of artists in this country needs to be elevated as we are a thriving, diverse culture that should be celebrated.”
The campaign builds on the work of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. which, in 2016, asked people if they could name five women artists. “It’s a simple question – can Australians name five women artists? We want to drive awareness of women who have made or are making a huge contribution to our cultural life,” added Mr Mitzevich.
“It is time to meet Australia’s culture makers, hear their stories, see their art and know their names,” said Alison Wright, Assistant Director National Gallery of Australia. “Women have been shaping Australian culture for more than 60,000 years and it is through the voices of artists we can define a country of tolerance, kindness and inclusion.”
Women represent approximately 25% of the Australian art collection at the National Gallery, which is collaborating and supporting independent researchers Countess Report in developing guidelines for arts organisations to achieve equality, building on the work of the National Association for the Visual Arts, the Australia Council and the Sheila Foundation for women in visual art.
While the National Gallery recognises the collection’s overall under representation, there are some areas where greater gender balance has been achieved including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection.
To rollout the campaign, the National Gallery has partnered with Instagram, Facebook, oOh!media, the Seven Network, Art Girl Rising and the National Association for the Visual Arts and will announce new partners in coming months.
Anyone can share a story using the hashtag #knowmyname to celebrate a creative woman. In collaboration with Art Girl Rising, t-shirts with the names of Australian artists are available for purchase. For more information about the #knowmyname campaign, visit: www.nga.gov.au for details.
Image: #knowmyname (supplied)