Art of Woman

IGAD - International Gynaecological Awareness Day

I’m so excited to announce the inaugural celebration of IGAD (International Gynaecological Awareness Day) in Canberra!! This is a day to build awareness of women’s intimate health.

There is still embarrassment and reluctance by many people to frankly discuss diseases and problems with our sexual organs, even with health professionals. Some women find that problems with their vulva or periods are not investigated thoroughly because they are not visible. Some women suffer for years in silence as a result.

SHFPACT (Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT) are hosting an event celebrating women’s intimate health. Tim Bavinton, the executive director was so impressed with my art, he suggested that I exhibit my work in the SHFACT Training Room as part of the IGAD celebrations. This is a great honour.

IGAD will be opened by Professor Frank Bowden at 7:30pm, 10th September and the exhibition will run from 12-23rd September. Prof Bowden is the professor of medicine at ANU and has recently published a book, Gone Viral -The Germs That Share Our Lives.

My art photos will be for sale as signed limited edition (25) prints, on archival rag paper. When I exhibited at PhotoAccess last year, I donated to endometriosis research and this year when I exhibited in Sydney in March, I donated to UN women Australia. During this exhibition at SHFPACT, I will donate 5% of sales to SHFPACT and 5% to endometriosis research.

International Gynaecological Awareness Day, a day to realise how intricately and wonderfully God made women - and God made all parts of women good.

Download the invitation.

"Period Piece" exhibition in Sydney - bigger and better

I’m very excited to announce that my solo exhibition, “Period Piece” will be exhibited in Sydney, opening on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2011 at Polymorph Art Gallery, Level 1, 7/82 Enmore Rd, Newtown, NSW.

There will be 20 photographs on display! Since my solo exhibition last year at PhotoAccess, I have done more photography and added 10 new photographs. All are original art photographic prints and are available for sale. This is a limited edition of 25, signed by me and printed on archival rag Canson paper.

It is my great honour to introduce Dr Sue Beautum, MBBS FAMAC who will open this exhibition. Dr Sue Beautum has had a life-long passion to be a doctor with a special interest in women and children’s health. Since the 90s she has been fascinated by acupuncture as a therapy and has incorporated this into her practice. She received the John Woodley Memorial Prize for her academic achievement, being top in Australia in her acupuncture studies.

Dr Sue Beautum often combines western medicine with acupuncture, using acupuncture as an adjunct to or alternative to drugs, many of which have unpleasant side effects. Like traditional chinese medicine, she sees women as part of their environment. She takes a holistic view of healing. In many cases, painful, heavy periods can be managed by acupuncture. Regulation of the menstrual cycle can be achieved in many women with the use of acupuncture. Later in life, acupuncture can ameliorate the symptoms of menopause reducing reliance on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Dr Sue Beautum agrees with my aims of giving women’s intimate health issues a voice. She sees that good communication and good imagery can open the dialogue between women and health professionals.

I will be raising money for UN Women Australia during this exhibition.

Here is the invitation to the opening. Invite your friends and join with me for a drink and nibbles at Polymorph Art Gallery,

7:30pm on Tuesday, 8th March, 2011, International Women’s Day.

Where: Polymorph Art Gallery
Level 1, 7/82 Enmore Road, Newtown, NSW, Australia
9519 8923
www.polymorphbodypiercing.com.au

Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 11am - 7pm, Sat 10am - 7pm, Sun 11am - 6pm

New Mikvah, Jewish Ritual Bath in Giralang, Canberra

It was announced in The Canberra Times on Monday 17th January that a new Mikvah will open in Giralang in Canberra next month. A mikvah is a ritual bath that women take seven days after menstruation. This bath marks the renewal of physical relations with the woman’s husband. Orthodox Jewish couples do not touch each other during menstruation or for seven days after until the woman is made ritually pure. Many Orthodox Jewish women find this time of no touching a time of mental space. The women do not become sex objects for their husbands. The couple can get to know each other in different ways. The wife is given a rest from sexually performing. After the mikvah, the wife is able to return to physical relations with renewed enthusiasm.

This will make life easier for Canberra’s Orthodox Jewish community. It is the first mikvah to be built in Canberra. Until now, some Orthodox Jewish women would travel to Sydney or Melbourne each month in order to take part in the ritual purity bath after menstruation. A local mikvah will mean it will be easier to fulfil ritual purity requirements.

Sydney Children's Hospital withdraws art exhibition

A photograph of a boy by Archibald Prize winning artist, Del Kathryn Barton, has caused Sydney Children’s Hospital to cancel a charity fundraiser exhibition, “Out Of The Comfort Zone”.

It is a beautiful photograph with the boy standing in front of a rose bush and decorated with toy eyes. His stance is relaxed and observing the viewer. He is wearing slacks, but no shirt. Unfortunately the Sydney Children’s Hospital board has deemed this image as inappropriate to use in their fundraising art exhibition - because of a lack of a shirt.

This is very sad. When did a child’s chest become offensive? Do we have to place children in Burkas to satisfy the conservatives? Artists are becoming afraid to represent children at all.

“The fear around any form of representation of children is rendering them invisible.” Tamara Winikoff from the National Association for the Visual Arts said.

“The depiction of children in art has steadily diminished in recent decades as attitudes to childhood itself have changed.” Felicity Fenner, Guest editor, Artlink magazine.

Surely a children’s hospital should celebrate depictions of children, especially beautiful images such as this one. I cannot fathom why the photo is deemed inappropriate by the hospital board. The boy was Del Kathryn Barton’s son and he is not doing anything provocative.

If a bare chested child is seen as offensive, then heaven help the surf life-saving community. Life-savers have been an integral part of Australia’s identity, along with beaches and the outdoors generally. Go to any beach or swimming pool in the country and you will see dozens of bare chested children playing joyously, feeling free.

These incidents are becoming more frequent. Art is being censored by conservative attitudes that restrict artists’ freedom of expression. I do not think that art should be held to ransom by a small alarmist minority. Do not get me wrong, artistic freedom is not a licence to harm anyone. But there is absolutely no evidence that any harm has been done or even has the potential to be done by showing this photo. Is our community becoming afraid of the body? Are some people so afraid of their sexuality that they are projecting their sexuality onto children. This boy is not posed in a sexy way, he is simply standing. He is obviously not afraid of the camera or the viewer. He does not look pressured in any way.

As I said in my Christmas Greetings, God made our bodies and we should take joy in that and celebrate how wonderful our bodies are. We should all feel a great sense of dignity in living in bodies that God has made. “For we are God’s workmanship,” Ephesians 2:10. This boy stands with dignity.

As an artist, I am concerned what this means for my art practice. Some of my women look very young but I make sure all my models are over 18, even checking their ID if I am unsure.

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