Know My Name, A Powerful Partnership
The National Gallery of Australia’s new and necessary initiative was a chance for Archie Rose to leverage the power of our bottle labels in order to throw some serious support behind Australian women artists.
Archie Rose cultural partner and national reference for art, the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has drawn a line in the sand with their fearless new initiative, Know My Name. This vibrant program of events, exhibitions, publications and commissions throughout 2020-21 will celebrate and increase the visibility of work by Australian women artists, honouring women who have been instrumental in shaping Australian culture for more than 60,000 years. Know My Name marks a clear new mission and path forward for the gallery’s curators, who’ve publicly committed to showcasing an equal proportion of works by women to men. Up until now, male artists have made up 75% of the NGA’s art collection. Clearly, it’s time for change.
The NGA’s curator for Australian Painting & Sculpture Elspeth Pitt, comments that “it became apparent that there were so many outstanding Australian women artists who had made significant contributions to the history of art in Australia – but they were not known on the same scale as Sidney Nolan, Brett Whitely or Arthur Streeton, for example. This exhibition delves into our collection and those of other galleries and showcases the work of women artists working in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” The gallery is “very fortunate to have the support of our colleagues in state and regional galleries as well as private collectors. We’ve been able to source works from all around the country to be a part of this exhibition.” She continues, “The exhibition offers a new look at Australian art history, acknowledging women who have been pioneers, rule-breakers and innovators in their field. The exhibition includes works produced between 1900 up until today spanning all genres, scales and mediums.”
We’re proud to have built relationships with our various cultural partners that push boundaries, set new social norms, throw out agendas and innovate creatively, and Know My Name is a shining example of what we can do to support (aside from providing Archie Rose cocktails at events, which we love to do). Moving into our third consecutive year of cultural partnership with the NGA, we’re proud that Know My Name’s values of inclusion and progression mirror our own, and so we’re thrilled to support the initiative with a new Tailored Gin emblazoned with #KNOWMYNAME on the label, in order to throw some serious spirit behind this important message.
“We looked to use our Tailored Spirits and packaging as another platform for exposure,” says Victoria Tulloch, Head of Marketing at Archie Rose. “We truly, sincerely believe in what The NGA is doing and love it, and saw the opportunity to use our labels as a media platform to get their message out as far as we can.” Using our labels in this way is something we’ve never done before, but we’re excited to start, and it’s only the beginning.
To hear a little more about the initiative, here are some more words from Elspeth Pitt:
Are there any artists or artworks you’re particularly excited about in the program?
I am particularly excited about a reimagining of Micky Allan’s 1978 Live-in show held at George Paton Gallery in Melbourne which will be held within the exhibition Know My Name: Women Artists from 1900 to Now. Allan who is a pioneer in photography in Australia in the 1970s wanted to break out of the “hush, hush, don’t speak” formal, stilted attitude in gallery or museum settings and did so by bringing the domestic indoors. She did so by moving in a bed, TV and coffee table into the gallery space, inviting people to lounge, linger and have a cup of tea while enjoying her art and poetry. Within the current exhibition we are designating an area, lovingly referred to amongst our colleagues as ‘Micky’s room’, complete with carpet, knick-knacks and a bed to emulate this experience. By doing this we hope to highlight the important work of feminist artists in breaking down distinctions in genre, materials and gallery experience. This project has been particularly wonderful as we are working alongside Micky Allan to make this space come to life.
Can you speak a little more about the new gender parity principles that the NGA is implementing?
The National Gallery went through a process of assessing its collection and discovered that only 25% of its Australian art collection was by women-identify artists. Know My Name came out of this acknowledgement and builds on the global movement to increase representation of women-identifying artists and to address the historical imbalance that has occurred in how the work of women artists is presented and collected. Additional to a vibrant program of exhibitions, events, commissions, creative collaborations, publications and partnerships planned for 2020 - 2021, Know My Name has been the impetus for the National Gallery to develop new gender parity guiding principles for the organisation. These guidelines are a commitment to achieve equal gender representation across all the Gallery’s activities including collection development and artist programs onsite, online and on tour and to embed gender equity commitments through all aspects of the institution.
How will they be rolled out? Why are they important?
Capturing and reporting the data is a critical component of accountability and ensuring the gender parity commitments inform core business. The Gallery’s collection management system has been updated to record gender of artists, so that this information can be gathered at any point in the future. For the 2020 program the Gallery assessed representation across the program including number of artists, time and floorspace to ensure minimum 50/50 representation was met. The gender equity commitment is also informing the development of future programming and the decisions that are made around purchasing new works for Gallery’s permanent collection. Because of the imbalance in the collection it will take many years to rebalance, but the commitment will ensure that this continues to be a key consideration.
What excites you about the art Australian women are creating today?
What excites me is the ambition of contemporary artists working today. These are savvy artists who are referring to the work of their predecessors and building on their work in new and interesting ways. One such artist is Justene Williams whose work is truly interdisciplinary – covering audio visual, community art, installation and performance. Williams has a unique visual vernacular which exudes energy and excess.
What events are coming up during the Know My Name initiative, and why should people get involved?
There are many events, workshops, performances occurring during Know My Name and we urge everyone to come along! It will be an inspiring and exciting time at the gallery. One of the events I’m most looking forward to is a major new commission generously supported by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin. This work will see acclaimed Melbourne-based choreographer and dancer Jo Lloyd envisaging her practice in relation to that of the dancer Philippa Cullen, who died prematurely at the age of 25 in 1975. One of the ideas underpinning the exhibition is that of lineages or relationships between artists through time, so Jo’s tribute to Philippa will be a very special part of the show. The work will premiere on opening night.
More info at: nga.gov.au/knowmyname/
Know My Name Tailored Gin will launch mid-November 2020. Sign up to Archie’s News to receive first access.
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