If you think so, say so

04 September 2018

International Women's Year 1975 by Gretchen Albrecht is one of 12 artworks that will feature in a special University-based art exhibition marking 125 years of women's suffrage.

Postgraduate Art History students are curating the exhibition at Old Government House, opening on Tuesday 18 September 2018. Each student is choosing an artwork from the University of Auckland's Art Collection and will then write a 500-word essay about their choice and its relevance to the anniversary. Reproductions of the works and essays will feature in a special catalogue.

Jude Rae's 1994 Virago
Jude Rae's 1994 Virago

We want the exhibition to be a celebration of visual voices, says the students' media contact, Kirsten Raynor. "By giving women the vote we gave them a voice in politics. So by saying 'if you think so, say so' we mean 'if you're a woman, be proud of your voice and speak up'."

Kirsten, who chose Gretchen Albrecht's poster says for her this year is the year of women because of the #MeToo movement.  "It has brought things to light and made us aware we haven't got as far as we hoped."

"New Zealand led the world in giving women the right to vote, but ongoing inequalities of power and gender continue to this day. The #MeToo movement, our degrading climate and relative political apathy are alarming signs that what began in 1893 is an ongoing struggle that implicates all of us."

Other works that will feature in the exhibition include Jane Zusters 1987 Untitled Triptych, Fiona Pardington's Inseparable Huia and Jude Rae's 1994 Virago. Student Irina Teyt says she has chosen Virago which on the surface looks like washing being rung out because it represents for her how "women are just about to break through the frame of prescribed gender roles. One more ring of the washing…"

Associate Professor Linda Tyler, who convenes the postgraduate Art Writing and Curatorial Practice course, says her students are engaged with how curatorial practices can be used to address issues of gender inequality.

"They have chosen some gritty works which will make people think about whether we have really come all that far as a society since 1893."

Say so
Voices of protest and pause 

Tuesday 18 September – 10 October 2018
Old Government House, University of Auckland