This Is W.A.R! – The Women’s Art Register online mapping project
This Is W.A.R!
This Is W.A.R! is our most recent project, amplifying the remit of the Women’s Art Register to document the lives and work of Australian women artists. It is an ongoing mapping project that shares sites of women’s art practice through an interactive, online platform, beginning with a pilot map for sites in and around Melbourne/Naarm. We hope it will continue and expand Australia wide, and welcome ongoing submissions from our audience.
Link to short facebook promo videos for This Is W.A.R!:
This Is W.A.R! seeks to enhance the visibility of women’s art practice, connect artists past and present, and activate physical sites of work, community, inspiration, learning, challenge and celebration. These categories are used as touchpoints and navigation tools for interacting with the map, allowing users to curate their own journeys and discover connections between sites and artists. Women’s art practice is situated and contextualised across sites, and decades, through these diverse stories that connect communities, ideas, bodies, practices and legacies. By quite literally putting women artists on the map, we reject the concept that women operate behind the scenes, unseen in their own homes and studios, out of the public sphere.
Though there are many highlights on the map, here are a few excerpts from some of the stories found there:
SITES OF CHALLENGE – DYNON BRIDGE, DYNON ROAD, FOOTSCRAY, 1998.
Mars Drum, artist and festival volunteer says: ”I moved into one of two wooden rooms built between the pylons of Dynon Road Bridge, made by Sydney artist Anne Graham, following the Construction in Process VI: The Bridge festival and facilitated a community mural on the three facing pylons on the edge of the Maribyrnong River. There were between 50 and 100 people daily—dog walkers, cyclists, families, schoolkids, police, Uncle Larry and a small crew of artists who were connected to the Bridge festival—who ‘made their mark’ on the pylons […] It was a completely magical experience with no phones nor money involved.”
Image: Mars Drum. (1998). Bridge studio shot with artists (left to right) Kim McMasters, Donna Sparx and Mars Drum. Courtesy Mars Drum.
SITES OF CELEBRATION – VICHEALTH ACCESS GALLERY, NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, 180 ST. KILDA RD. MELBOURNE. 1993 & 1995.
The first floor mezzanine of the National Gallery of Victoria housed the VicHealth Access Gallery from 1991–1999, the site of two major exhibitions produced by the Women’s Art Register as collaborative projects. ‘Can’t See For Lookin’: 12 Koorie Women Artists Educating’ ran from 4–7 June 1993, developed in conjunction with Koorie women artists and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association. […] ‘Bias Binding: Women’s Art Register 1975–1995’ saw participating artists pay tribute to the women who had influenced their work. From 3 March to 2 April 1995, this significant exhibition was staged to celebrate 20 years of the Women’s Art Register.
Image: Flyer for the Bias Binding exhibition, VicHealth Access Gallery, NGV, 1995. From the archives of the Women’s Art Register, WAR History file ‘Bias Binding’.
SITES OF COMMUNITY – CARRINGBUSH REGIONAL LIBRARY, CHARLOTTE ST. RICHMOND AND THE AUSTRALIAN TURKISH CULTURAL ASSOCIATION, 2 BUCKINGHAM ST. RICHMOND. 1985.
‘Common Thread’ was a community arts project that ran from the Carringbush Library in Richmond. It was funded by the Ministry of Employment in 1985, employing six craftswomen from different cultural backgrounds who shared their knowledge and skills with the local Richmond and Collingwood communities. Artists included Minh Thu Nguyen, Hatice Kahvecioglu and Effie Karagiozaki. Kahvecioglu conducted sewing and craft classes at the Australian Turkish Cultural Association’s (A.T.C.A.) Women’s Centre in Buckingham Street, Richmond. This connection to A.T.C.A. saw the project developed even further in 1985–86, with additional funding obtained to support the next iteration, the ‘Evimiz’ project. Common Thread worked extensively with school children, teaching them Mexican, Turkish, Polish, Columbian and Vietnamese crafts. The group also held an exhibition at the Carringbush Library in July 1985, where the opening was attended by over 200 people.
Image: Community art classes for ‘Common Thread’. From the archives of the Women’s Art Register, Subject File “Common thread’.
SITES OF WORK – PAT HILLCOAT’S STUDIO. 797 DRUMMOND ST. CARLTON.
Artist Pat Hillcoat combined her studio and family home for many years at 797 Drummond Street, Carlton North. Hillcoat worked in painting and collage, and was on the Women’s Art Register committee for many years, contributing to the Bulletin magazine with a regular column ‘A Look At Books’ from 1988 until 2001. “The inspiration to write my column in the Bulletin came about on my return to Australia in 1978 after living with my family in New Haven, Connecticut, for three years and in Hamilton, Ontario, for ten years. […] At Yale I was involved in women’s groups that were active in feminism, civil rights, black power and protests against the Vietnam war. It was fortunate being so close to New York that I could follow the main trends in art. At the same time I began buying art books, especially those on women artists, and so started my collection. […] The internet did not exist at that time. It now makes accessible more information and art news than was available when I wrote my column, but I believe a critical filter is still needed to help artists and art lovers find quality material. I thank the Women’s Art Register for the opportunity to contribute through my column.”
Image: Flyers for Pat Hillcoat exhibitions. From the Women’s Art Register Archive, Artist File ‘Pat Hillcoat’.
This Is W.A.R! contains over 50 stories from our archive and beyond, including lesser known artists, sites and events that took place at key moments in the history of Australian art. The map has been generated from community contributions and many hours of volunteer research. This first iteration concentrates on sites in use prior to 2000. While a number of locations have been mapped, there are many more to come.
We welcome ongoing submissions. The map and submission form can be found on our website here, using Google Maps.
Or explore some of the site via Google Earth, via this link:
Please contact us at:
The Women’s Art Register is Australia’s living archive of women’s art practice (cis, non-binary and trans inclusive) and an artist-run community and resource.