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National Gallery's KNOW MY NAME: AUSTRALIAN WOMEN ARTISTS 1900 TO NOW Opening Saturday

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Over the next year, the National Gallery of Australia will celebrate the work of Australian women artists.

National Gallery's KNOW MY NAME: AUSTRALIAN WOMEN ARTISTS 1900 TO NOW Opening Saturday

Over the next year, the National Gallery of Australia will celebrate the work of Australian women artists in its major, two-part exhibition Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, which opens to the public on Saturday, 14 November 2020.

One of the biggest ever displays of art by Australian women, the exhibition - delivered in two parts - will showcase more than 400 works by around 170 artists over the course of a year, encouraging audiences to consider the history of Australian art in a new light and celebrate the role of women in the nation's cultural life.

Natasha Bullock, the National Gallery of Australia's Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, said the exhibition was a very public demonstration of a deeper commitment throughout the institution.

The Know My Name initiative was launched last year after research revealed only 25 per cent of its Australian art collection was by women. It prompted the Gallery to examine its collection, consider practices and review the role it plays in recognising all artists.

"We know there are more names to know, and more work to do, but this is the start of the structural change we need to achieve gender equity in the Gallery and in our sector," Bullock said.

Co-curators Deborah Hart and Elspeth Pitt said their ambition was to make the art of women better known in the wider community and counter the dominance of an art history that prioritised men.

"The exhibition identifies moments in which women led progressive practice or formed new types of art and cultural commentary. The works are diverse. We have consciously focused on practices that have been excluded or sidelined because they were categorised as women's art. Some of the artists are well-known, others are less so," they said.

Themes through the exhibition include images of women by women, Country and environmental consciousness, dynamism and abstraction, collective and collaborative ways of working, and feminism and matrilineal connections across generations.

Artistic highlights include a major commission by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers; a portrait wall featuring photographs and paintings by nearly 50 artists including Brenda L Croft, Destiny Deacon, Dora Chapman and Yvette Coppersmith; Kangkura-KangkuraKu Tjukurpa - A sister's story by the Ken Family Collaborative; the debut of Jo Lloyd's performance piece Archive the archive, responding to the work of the late Philippa Cullen; designs by DI$COUNT UNIVER$E from the Spring 2019 collection WOMEN and a contemporary re-imagining of Micky Allan's 1978 exhibition A live-in show.

National Gallery of Australia Director Nick Mitzevich thanked the many philanthropic supporters and corporate partners who had made the exhibition possible.

"Our generous philanthropic supporters, corporate partners, and private individuals have rallied to contribute support valued at more than $10 million to celebrate Australian women artists and recognise the contribution they make to Australian cultural life. We acknowledge Tim Fairfax AC for his foundational support as Principal Patron," he said.

Hart, the Henry Dalrymple Head of Australian Art and Pitt, Curator of Australian Art , curated the exhibition with assistance from Yvette Dal Pozzo, Assistant Curator of Australian Art, and in collaboration with Kelli Cole, Curator of Special Projects, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, and Rebecca Edwards, the Sid and Fiona Myer Curator of Ceramics and Design.

The exhibition is accompanied by the Know My Name book, delving into the histories and inspirations of a cross-section of Australian women artists, including many featured in the exhibition.

"We know women have been erased from art history for too long, which is why Know My Name is also a book, a record, a reference that can be held in our hands, profiling 150 women artists and 115 women writers," Bullock said.

Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now opens at the National Gallery of Australia on 14 November 2020. Part 1 will be on display until 4 July 2021. Part 2 opens July 2021. The exhibition is open 10am-5pm daily, excluding Christmas Day. Entry is free.

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