125: Celebrating Women from the Collection
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125: Celebrating Women from the Collection

125: Celebrating Women from the Collection



Liyen Chong, Crescent Moon, 2011, silver metallic leaf and acrylic on photographic print. Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Tylee Residency exchange 2010/2011

Exhibition showing from 15 September – 17 February 2019

In recognition of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, Sarjeant Gallery Curator & Public Programmes Manager Greg Donson, the Curator of Collections Jennifer Taylor Moore, and Assistant Curator Jessica Kidd have brought together this stunning exhibition from the Sarjeant’s permanent collection. Focusing on images of women from a broad spectrum of artists – both women and men – the exhibition features works across a range of media: paintings, photographs, sculpture, print and ephemera.

The Sarjeant’s collection is not alone in its gender imbalance, and male artists far out-weigh the female. In this exhibition that imbalance is addressed with 125: Celebrating Women from the Collection including a number of notable works by women including Robyn Kahukiwa’s powerful two metre high painting from 1985 – ‘He Toa Takitahi (He Whakatauaki: E hara toa i te toa takitahi engari takimano no aku tipuna – My strength is not individual it is collective).

Also featured is Whanganui painter Edith Collier who, as an art student in London at the outbreak of the first World War was an observer to the efforts of English women to be of service. In 1999 art historian Joanne Drayton noted Collier’s circa 1917-1918 painting Ministry of Labour – The Recruiting Office for Women “depicts a group of women waiting to offer their labour for tasks and employment associated with the war effort. This subject matter is unique, not only in Edith’s oeuvre, but also in the work of contemporary painters of this period” This work features in the exhibition as well as a selection of Collier’s portraits of women called Edith Collier: Ahead of her Time which is on view until 4 November.

Ans Westra, Nurses’ Protest, Wanganui Base Hospital’ 1993, toned black & white photograph. Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of the artist, 1996.

One of the strengths of the Gallery’s collection has been its focus on collecting photography. Contemporary photographic practice by women is represented in 125: Celebrating Women from the Collection with works by Anne Noble, Megan Jenkinson and Ans Westra on view, alongside more recent examples by a new generation of photographers, such as Liyen Chong, Yvonne Todd and Roberta Thornley.

125: Celebrating Women from the Collection features intimate portraits, personal ephemera, and illustrations of traditional roles of women through to challenging and bold statements of identity. This exhibition provides another glimpse of the breadth of the Sarjeant Gallery’s nationally significant collection.

For any further information or to arrange an interview about this exhibition please contact Relationships Officer at the Sarjeant, Jaki Arthur on 027 577 4923 or jaki.arthur@sarjeant.org.nz