Recently, the book Public and Private Worlds: Women in Contemporary New Zealand[1] crossed my path as I scanned through an op shop in Thames. In chapter 5, Women and Art, Anne Kirker speaks of some significant NZ woman artists that have paved the way for coming generations and how women have embraced their destined environments and expected commitments to domesticity, feminine leanings and hardships to endure a career as an artist that was subject to effacement, yet did not let this deter them.

 ‘She was a victim of circumscribed expectations of women in a patriarchal society.’[2]

What resonates in this article, written in the 80s when I was a young woman, is the use of the word autobiographical. Kirker refers to woman artists embracing the things that they knew as inspiration for the art they created and did not succumb to prevalent subjects that gave their male counterpart’s recognition, in an effort to be noticed.

Without the occurrence of these women artists, I wonder how mine could have developed differently, if at all. Although there are often masculine elements and references in my work, like theses NZ women artists before me, it is not altered as to aspire to any male counterpart and is very much referencing my life, its environment and the equality I work towards that combines the feminine and masculine domesticity of today.

My work like women artists before me is autobiographical, a documentation of my life as I see it, what I have done, where I have been and who I am. Each work or series I make is an abstract record of my time and place in this world.

 

 

[1] edited by Shelagh Cox, Public & private Worlds : Women in Contemporary New Zealand, Allen &​ Unwin Port Nicholson Press, Wellington, 1987

[2] Kirker, A, “Women and Art”, Shelagh Cox ed., Public & private Worlds : Women in Contemporary New Zealand, Wellington, Allen &​ Unwin Port Nicholson Press, 1987

 

 

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