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A National Gallery of Australia campaign for women artists.

#KnowMyName is a call for equal power, respect and recognition for female creators. The ongoing objective is to recognise and celebrate Australian women artists, through social media, exhibitions, research and creative collaborations.

"Women have been shaping Australian culture for more than 60,000 years and it is through the voices of artists we can define a country of acceptance, kindness and inclusion.”

Alison Wright, Assistant Director National Gallery of Australia

The campaign builds on the work of the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. which, in 2016, asked people if they could name five women artists.

"It’s a simple question—can Australians name five women artists? We want to drive awareness of women who have made or are making a huge contribution to our cultural life."

Nick Mitzevich, Director National Gallery of Australia

Women represent approximately 25% of the Australian art collection at the National Gallery. In acknowledging this imbalance, the Gallery will unveil a major exhibition of Australian women artists in May 2020, as well as undertake a further display of works by exclusively woman artists in the 20th century Australian art gallery from May to October.

"We want to do more than have a conversation about equality, we want to take action and address the significant imbalance before us... The value of women artists in this country needs to be elevated as we are a thriving, diverse culture that should be celebrated.”

Nick Mitzevich

Polka Dots and Carp, 2003

High-warp woven tapestry

Dimensions 120.0 h x 150.0 w cm

Purchased for the National Gallery Australia 2003

Accession no NGA 2004.25

Kirk draws upon her Scottish background for subject matter in works that address the themes of migration, displacement and the role of folk tradition in contemporary practice. The image of the freshwater fish (usually the salmon) recurs through her recent work, as a metaphor for survival, continuity and change. In this work, the fish represented is the carp, its densely-woven and murky background a commentary on the damage being wrought by this introduced species in the artificial and modulated environment of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin. Here, instead of the gaiety that the polka dot over-pattern should impart to the image, its use suggests an invasive poisonousness and net-like surface density, further emphasised by the monochrome colour palette that Kirk has chosen for this work.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

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