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Baci (Kiss), 2020. E.L. Elliott.

Political Women

Griffith Regional Art Gallery:
9 January - 13 February 2022

Lake Macquarie Museum of Art and Culture/Yapang:
19 February - 8 May 2022
Curated by Julie Montgarrett and Sarah McEwan.

Political Women brings together 13 artists from diverse cultural, generational, personal and artistic perspectives to illustrate and celebrate the complexity of contemporary feminist discourse and the art made within it. Each artist’s practice is entangled with politics, personal narrative and activism to highlight the impacts and consequences of colonisation and patriarchal power.

The exhibition draws attention to the overlaps and divergences in the lives of the artists, while also placing regional and urban women standing side by side, working towards reconciliation, accepting differences and creating a more just world through empathy and tolerance.


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Amani Haydar

Amani Haydar is an award-winning artist, writer and advocate for women’s health and safety, based in Western Sydney. Amani’s self-portrait titled Insert Headline Here was a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize. Since then, her writing and illustrations have been published in Racism, Arab Australian Other, Sweatshop Women Volume Two, SBS Voices and ABC News Online. Amani has had solo exhibitions with Bankstown Arts Centre, Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, and MARS Gallery, Melbourne. In 2020 Amani was a Finalist for the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award and was named Local Woman of the Year for Bankstown in recognition of her advocacy against domestic violence. Her book The Mother Wound, a feminist memoir about violence against women, is out now.

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Dr Christine Dean

Dr. Christine Dean commenced exhibiting as an artist in 1988. Her studies include a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art History, 1986; followed by a Diploma of Art Education, 1988; a Graduate Diploma in Painting, 1991; a Masters of Fine Arts, 2000 and a PhD, 2010. Christine’s exhibition history includes, Spirit + Place, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Juice, Art Gallery of NSW, 1997; Points of Departure, Tobey Fine Arts, New York, 2007; Minus Space at PS1, New York, 2009; Fabrik, Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne, 2016 and The Public Body 2.0, Artspace, Sydney, 2017.

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Debra Keenahan

Debra Keenahan is a visual artist, psychologist, and academic. Having achondroplasia dwarfism, she brings personal insight to understanding the dynamics of interactions and social structures that include/exclude the visibly different from equitable social relations. Debra’s work reflects the philosophy that the personal is the political. In her art practice Debra uses 2D, 3D, Virtual Reality, Film and Performance methods to represent disability aesthetics. Debra has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and has sole and co-authored a book, chapters, and articles. Debra lectures at Western Sydney University and previously worked as a psychologist. For Debra, psychology and the visual arts complement each other.

Desna Whaanga-Schollum

Iwi: Rongomaiwahine, Kahungunu, Pāhauwera. Hapū: Ngāi Tahu Matawhaiti
Currently resident in her iwi territories on the East Coast of Aotearoa, Desna collaborates with a wide variety of communities, scientists, public servants, business professionals, artists and academics. An Ambassador for Landscape Foundation NZ, Desna is actively involved in indigenous discourse, working towards re-inscribing ancestral narratives in the cultural landscape, acknowledging respect for place, and reciprocal relationships with place. Her governance roles include: Chair, Ngā Aho Māori Design Professionals; Chair, Artspace Aotearoa; Trustee, Arts Foundation NZ; Board Member, Auckland Urban Design Panel.

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Gail Manderson

Gail Manderson is a Wiradjuri Elder and Master Weaver, living in Wagga Wagga. She has been teaching Wiradjuri Culture through song, language, games, stories, weaving and cooking in schools for over 30 years. Gail has completed her Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Heritage, Culture and Language and uses this to pass on Language to the younger generations. Gail creates woven baskets, mats, dillybags, jewellery, string bags, Aboriginal dolls, animals, nets and scoops. She currently has work in the Australian Museum exhibition Unsettled and has sold baskets to Wominjeka, Museum of Victoria, and private collectors in Seattle, New York and Milan.

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Her Riot

Her Riot is considering how you be a musician within the visual arts by creating songs, videos and installations that range from sincere and contemplative to irreverent punk pop. Inspired by DIY aesthetics, the Narrandera tip and writers such as Silvia Federici, Her Riot is respectfully raging against the music industry, complicated histories and our troubled Western past.

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Dr Julie Montgarrett

Dr Julie Montgarrett is a textile artist, curator and former University lecturer. Over more than three decades, her practice has included over 100 solo and group exhibitions, site specific installations, public art commissions and community-based arts projects in Australia and internationally. Her main interests are in the areas of drawing and textile, to extend their conceptual and spatial possibilities and new materialities through creative practice as research questioning dominant Australian histories; to explore doubt and fragility via visual narratives, often in complex installations.

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Kath Withers

Kath Withers, known to many as Aunty Kath, is a Wiradjuri Elder. An accomplished artist, Kath often creates through painting, printmaking and weaving to tell the stories of her life and dreaming. She has work held in numerous collections nationally and internationally including Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre Museum of Victoria and the Australian Museum. A deep care for community is evident in everything Kath does.

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Lorraine Tye

Lorraine Tye is a Wiradjuri Elder and artist with disability who has artworks in major Australian collections and sits on various boards and advisory groups. Her artworks speak of Wiradjuri women’s stories, incorporating installation, video or intricate weavings across a variety of scales, from miniature to large and immersive. In sharing stories through her artworks, Lorraine acknowledges people of different backgrounds living on Wiradjuri country bringing their own understandings of traditional stories and ways of life. Lorraine’s artworks act as a cultural bridge between divided and contested histories by allowing an entry point into important and ancient understandings of place.

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Melanie Evans

Melanie Evans is a descendent of the Mudburra people from the Northern Territory and lives and learns on Wiradjuri Country in Wagga Wagga. As a multi-disciplinary artist for over 25 years, Mel has worked on solo projects, as well as with many communities across Ngoongah Country (Perth, WA), Wiradjuri Country (Riverina, NSW) and Yolngu Country (Gapuwiyak, NT) to make public art, work in schools and prisons. Mel is passionate about working with people of all ages to pass on knowledge and see the beauty in our world through caring for each other and Country.

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Ms Saffaa

Ms Saffaa is a Sydney-based street artist, researcher, and a cultural activist. She moved to Sydney in 2008 after quitting her eight-year lucrative advertising career to pursue a career in the visual arts. Her creative practice engages with culturally-specific notions of gender politics. She employs her own experiences, personal reflections, and artistic expressions as a form of cultural activism in order to enrich the understanding of the plight of Saudi women in Australia and beyond.

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Sarah Mifsud

Sarah Mifsud is an interdisciplinary creative practitioner and academic, working predominantly within the field of photography, digital imaging and design. Sarah’s work predominantly focuses on Feminist perspectives relating to identity and otherness and more recently has been investigating photographic practice and the ways in which it facilitates conversations with our past to create a retrospective reality. The differences that exist between the established Western conventions of representation of the human figure and how these differences are communicated symbolically within art has been a concept explored and represented visually within Sarah’s work for over ten years. 

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Yasmine Nasser Diaz

Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice weaves between culture, class, gender, religion, and family. She uses mixed media collage, immersive installation, fiber etching, and video to juxtapose disparate cultural references and to explore the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. Diaz is especially interested in complicated narratives of third-culture identity and their precarious invisibility/hyper-visibility.

Disobedient Aprons Workshop

Griffith Regional Art Gallery
Wednesday 24 July 2021

Join artist Julie Montgarrett to applique or embroider a short, sharp statement onto an apron that calls out everyday sexist comments. The artwork made by participants will be exhibited at Griffith Regional Art Gallery and Lake Macquarie Museum of Art and Culture/Yapang alongside the aprons created by Julie Montgarrett for the Political Women exhibition.

Closing Event at Griffith Regional Art Gallery

Griffith Regional Art Gallery

Saturday 12 February 2022

11am - 2pm

From 11am - 12pm join the artists for a closing event of speeches and light snacks.
From 12pm- 2pm join the artists for an extended artist talk and conversation discussing their artwork, political activism and how their lives overlap and diverge based upon their locations and backgrounds.

Public Programs

Public Programs

This project is supported by The Cad Factory, Griffith Regional Art Gallery, Lake Macquarie Museum of Art and Culture/Yapang, Create NSW, Regional Arts NSW, Western Riverina Arts, and 
Regional Arts Australia.



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