Art of Woman

Monthlies Campaign

What is menstruation? What changes in a girl’s life when ''it'' first arrives? Monthlies is a fresh film exploring the period with humour and sensitivity.

See a promotional clip of

This is an exciting new film being produced. It is an educational animation designed to teach pre-pubescent girls about menstruation in a positive way. I can see this film helping millions of women all around the world. I fully support comprehensive and positive sex and reproductive education. This film will generate discussion about intimate health issues potentially saving many lives and averting suffering. Many adult women received negative messages about menstruation when they were growing up. This film will be healing for adult women too.

Today I donated to the production costs through crowd funding, Indiegogo. I am proud to support intimate woman's health and girls' reproductive health education. I love the concept of positive period awareness that overcomes yuck factor attitudes to menstruation. Congratulations, great work!

World AIDS Day 2012

A chance to relax and enjoy life after the working day has finished saw me walking in the city of Sydney watching the evening light change. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a grand old lady all beautifully flood lit at night. Then I noticed this large banner for World AIDS Day proudly filling the space on the sandstone pylon. What a wonderful statement defiantly embellishing this world recognised icon! Finally AIDS has come out of the dark and is seen as a mainstream issue.

South Australian Minister for Health and Ageing, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, The Hon John Hill, MP affirms the need for us all to be vigilant and practice safe sex, safe injecting practices and take precautions to protect ourselves.

Although AIDS is spoken about much more freely than in the past, unfortunately, there are still people who think that AIDS is a behaviour problem. AIDS is a disease not a punishment. While certain behaviours can minimise exposure to any disease, including the common cold, we are all vulnerable because disease exists throughout our population. People who are sick need care and compassion regardless of how they became sick.

World AIDS Day banner on the pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
World AIDS Day banner on the pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Reclaim The Night 2012

Reclaim the Night is an annual event where women gather to demonstrate against sexual violence by men of women. Once a year women and their men supporters walk around the city streets declaring freedom of movement for women. Our streets should be safe enough for women (and men) to walk freely without being molested or raped. Rape is a crime regardless of what time of day it occurs or location or what clothing the woman is wearing.

Violent men have often tried to deflect responsibility for their actions by blaming their victims. There is still a lot of victim blame in society, where the focus is on the victim’s behaviour or clothing or even the time of day or location, rather than addressing the perpetrator’s criminal behaviour. A civil society does not blame victims for crime.

Rape and sexual violence are not a result of clothing. Around the world, there are many cultures that do not wear clothes, yet these cultures have very strict marriage laws, incest laws and rape laws. Some people holiday in the nude, but they do not expect to be sexually assaulted. It is like going shopping. The advertising banners and signs are bright, obvious and enticing. It is hard to navigate past the armfuls of merchandise that vie for our attention in tightly packed shopping malls and stores, some are so close they brush past us when we walk through. We may be hungry or in great need for something, yet if we take any piece of merchandise without paying, we will be charged with shoplifting. Enticing and seductive advertising is no defence for stealing! Likewise, rape and sexual violence is not about the type or amount of clothing a woman wears.

There were many types of clothing featured in the march. Some women wore long sleeves and long skirts, some had head covering, some wore very short shorts showing all their legs and some had low cut tops. These items of clothing show a fashion preference and have nothing to do with consent for sex. Some women wear provocative clothes in our society, but we do not condone sexual attacks on them. Think of Lady Gaga, Madonna or Kylie Minogue. These powerful, talented performers are not inviting assault. Neither is the teenager next door who wants to look fashionable.

I wonder if a study has been done of the cloths that were worn by victims of sexual assault. My prediction is that most victims wear ordinary cloths because most sexual assault is committed opportunistically. In many cases, the victim is not even dressed up, the victim is simply going about her usual activities. I searched the internet for such a study and found many studies that assessed people’s attitudes, such as the paper by Maurer & Robinson, 2008.

I found none that has actually checked police records to find out what the victims were actually wearing.

This quote from by a policeman was very revealing however:

Having been in police work for 40+ years, I can say that how a woman is dressed has little or nothing to do with sex crimes. It's about opportunity. Our local serial rapist, The "South Side" rapist, attacked some 30 women in their homes. He could not even see them before hand, he forced his way in through a window and raped the victims at knifepoint.

– M. Werner May 10 '11 at 15:01

I agree with the conclusion from a fact sheet from Rape Crisis Ireland:

Attitudes that blame victims of rape excuse perpetrators and reduce the likelihood of the prosecution of rapists. Such attitudes thus increase everyone’s vulnerability to rape.

(Download fact sheet)

Here are some interesting articles published by Utah State University:
Myths and facts about rape
Friends_family_of rape victims
For men only_male rape victims

Let’s all stop blaming the victim!

I love the banner that the demonstrators carried. It stated in hot shiny pink letters “There’s nothing sexier than consent”. I agree. Sexual love and joy should be promoted and spoken about openly in society so that all adults have their sexuality respected. There is no place for coercion or intimidation. Consent is a basic foundation of respect for our bodies.
Photo of Reclaim the night with banner reading 'There's nothing sexier than consent'

Period Piece 2012

Unleash Your Creativity workshop was a complete success. There was a full attendance and the women were engaged and enjoyed themselves. A lot was learnt and many anecdotal stories were told. It was a venue where personal experience was valued and added to the discussion. My art generated animateds debate and gave the attendees ideas that they had not thought about before. I thoroughly recommend any future workshops presented by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer. Together they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to give to women.

My photos are on display at the Awareness Centre, 41 Abbeville Rd, in Clapham, London, until 2 December 2012. They are printed on A3+ 310gsm Canson rag archival art paper. These photos are a part of my Period Piece collection and are not the ones as on My Woman Art Gallery page.

You can buy prints from Period Piece 2012.
Simply make your selection from the Gallery Shop page. Find the image you want, set the number of copies you want to buy (multiple copies are available), chose the paper style (either inkjet glossy or Canson rag paper) and click ‘Add to Cart’. Your payment will be managed by PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account; major credit cards are accepted.

Prints ordered will be printed and posted as soon as possible. Allow 10–15 days for me to arrange printing and shipping. Prints will be posted in a tube by registered post; shipping times are determined by the postal agencies involved.

If you wish, you may buy art print/s from ‘off the wall’ at the Awareness Centre in Clapham, London. Email me to get a coupon to waive shipping costs. Then make your payment through PayPal from the Gallery Shop page. Email the exhibition organiser, Chrissy Thirlaway to let her know which print/s you are buying. You can collect your print/s from the Awareness Centre at the end of the exhibition on 3 December.

Copyright in all images is owned by Margaret Kalms. Purchased prints may not be copied, photographed or reproduced.
If you are not happy with your purchase contact me within 30 days of delivery to arrange a refund and to return the print. Costs associated with returning any prints are born by the buyer.

Download Period Piece 2012 - catalogue

Alexandria and Sjanie at the workshop
Alexandria and Sjanie at the exhibition

Julia Gillard states Tony Abbott's behaviour is misogynistic

Thousands of people around the world have seen the YouTube clip of Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard’s speech when she called the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott a misogynist.

This was an amazing speech full of passion. It was the culmination of months of harassment by Tony Abbott. Misogyny is defined in the dictionary as someone who hates women. Tony Abbott has tried to defend himself by saying that he loves women. He gives examples of the women he loves, his wife, his daughters and his sisters. These are all family relationships and have an element of power involved. Of course Tony Abbott loves his wife when she is supportive of him. Of course Tony Abbott loves his daughters while he can be the authoritative father. Often brother and sister relationships are not equal in power.

What I am saying here is that filial or sexual love is not what Julia Gillard was talking about. Julia Gillard certainly does not want to become Tony Abbott’s wife or be treated like his daughter! Tony Abbott is happy to love women who are not his equal in power but he is outraged by Julia Gillard because she has more power than him. What Julia Gillard deserves is respect.

Throughout all of Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership, Tony Abbott has show immense disrespect and has relentlessly tried to undermine everything she has done rather than respect her as the elected Prime Minister and leader of the country. He has not considered the needs of the Australian people, constantly thwarting the process of government. This is why Julia Gillard called Tony Abbott a misogynist - because he shown immense lack of respect.

I congratulate Julia Gillard for naming sexism and harassment for what it is - misogyny - that is, seeing women as less deserving and less important than men. I congratulate Julia Gillard for making a stand. The world now knows that she is a powerful woman deserving of respect.

I believe that history will be more considerate of Julia Gillard than parliament has been during her term. It would be wonderful if our politicians could get on with the business of governing the country and stop the insults and personality clashes.

I would like to see a parliament that is not misogynist, that takes women’s concerns seriously and gives women respect.

Unleash Your Creativity

It is with great excitement that I invite my followers in London to an exciting workshop hosted by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, at the Awareness Centre in Clapham. Alexandra Pope is a co-author of the well known book, The Pill: Are You Sure It’s For You? (Allen and Unwin, 2008) and author of The Wild Genie: The Healing Power of Menstruation, (Sally Milner 2001). This workshop is designed to tap into women’s deep creativity through intimate body awareness. Women’s Quest describe the innovative workshop as follows:

you will learn about the 4 key stages of the creative process and how they are intimately linked with the inner seasons of your cycle.With this understanding, you can: • Discover your secret time for accessing ideas, inspirations and visions • Find a natural motivation and finally give procrastination the boot • And learn about the vital role of the inner critic, and how to harness its power to serve rather than destroy what you are doing

I fully support my photos being used to enhance this workshop for women's creativity. My photos explore different meanings and symbolism associated with menstruation. I have used my own experience, the experiences of friends and relatives and learnt from myths and the images generated by the language women use for the body and slang euphemisms. My photography suits this workshop very well.

Unleash Your Creativity Workshop: 10am-6pm, Sat 29th Sept 2012
Where: The Awareness Centre, 41 Abbeville Rd, Clapham, SW4 9JX
Cost: £85/£50 (students) For concession please apply
For more info: Phone: 07974388973 or
The photos will be hanging in the Awareness Centre after the workshop until the end of November.
Women's Quest News 2012 Unleashing Your Creativity

Marriage is a Miracle Cure!

The Canberra Times published an article from The Independent about the effect of marriage on cancer patients on Saturday 8 September 2012. Marriage is shown to improve the three year survival rate of cancer patients by threefold. “If marriage were a drug, it would be hailed as miracle cure.” says The Independent. Caner patients within a marriage had significantly greater chance of survival than single patients. The study followed 168 cancer patients over a decade of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Survival after three years was 33% for married patients compared to 10% survival after three years for single patients.

Married women cancer patients fared best with 46% increased survival while married men had 25% increased survival rate. Single men fared the worst with only 3% increased survival rate. So marriage is very beneficial.

I have often wondered why so many men (and some independent women) make such a fuss about getting married, as if they are being coerced or cajoled somehow. Marriage has suffered from a lot of disrespectful jokes and these affect people’s attitude and willingness to commit to marriage.

The study does not consider why marriage gives such a large benefit. Cancer treatment requires a lot of complex treatments, medicines and frequent trips to the doctor or clinic. The treatments and medical investigations often involve stressful and time consuming procedures. A spouse is a great asset to make sure that all appointments are attended, medicines taken as prescribed and complex procedures and followed correctly. I agree that social and practical support is an important factor in assisting ill people regain health.

While it was good to see an article that shows the benefits of marriage for a change, I would have liked a study that included the affection level of the marriage. I have a theory that marriage confers more benefits than simply the mechanics of appointments and medicines. Being in a significant relationship can give a spouse an extra reason to live. Being married can, quite literally, make life worth living.

Ginninderra Journeys

Another exciting exhibition!

Ginninderra Journeys explores the varied responses of the artists of Belconnen Artists Network. I had a sneak preview on the weekend and there is some stunning work...
  • Several wall hanging style textile arts combine fabric, thread, dying techniques, fabric painting and collage.
  • A representation of Ginninderra Falls painted in relief positively shimmers. The volcanic rocks emerge like children’s blocks from the canvas, offsetting a forest background with a twisted tree featured.
  • A peaceful poem, inspired by a visit to a prominent park in the region, is surrounded by graphite and charcoal palm fronds.
  • A woollen cloak billows in the breeze that wafts by as someone walks past. The cloak is embellished with embroidered spring flowers and a lavish felt flower clasp.
  • A suitcase, covered in the dust and stickers of many travels, is marked by the hand and footprint of its owner as if she is about to arrive at any moment and continue on her journey.
  • A tourist town is featured in bright colours in axiomatic projection like a Chinese map. All the landmarks are immediately recognisable and brightly coloured.
  • A fun night panorama with model cars driving to to enjoy the lady of the night.
  • A hospital facade with windows filled with the journey of life starting with birth and ending with death and many body dramas in between.
  • Four lizards expressing different aspects of the river’s personality.
  • A parliament of frogmouth owls chicks sit together on a log ready for their maiden flight.
  • Travellers with horses explore the National Bicentennial Trail.

I invite all my followers to the opening on Friday 7 September, 6:00pm at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

Download invitation

Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Information Night

Melissa Parker speaking about endometriosis. She used my photographs to engage the audience.
Melissa Parker speaking about endometriosis

On 30May I was invited to display some of my exhibition quality photographs at an endometriosis information evening. The evening was hosted by the Canberra Endometriosis Centre which is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and management of endometriosis. Many women, from teens to mature women, suffer terribly from endometriosis. Symptoms include severe pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, fertility problems and general ill health. These symptoms disrupt girls’ schooling and cause affected women to take time off work. As a result of these symptoms, endometriosis can put immense stress on relationships; both personal and work relationships. It is a poorly understood disorder and many women suffer for years before diagnosis and effective treatment is implemented.

Guest speaker was Dr Susan Evans from Adelaide. She is a Gynaecologist and Advanced Laporoscope Surgeon who specialises in managing endometriosis and pelvic pain. She has authored several books including Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain (which was available to buy), the e-book Pelvic Pain and The Pelvic Pain Report.

I have a deep compassion for this often hidden suffering and I use my art to promote awareness and to fundraise. Modern medical techniques have progressed and many endometriosis sufferers can be treated. There is no reason for women to suffer for years without treatment.

Endometriosis night was well attended with standing room only in the auditorium. Many aspects of endometriosis were discussed. Melissa Parker (RN RM MNurs, endometriosis coordinator and researcher) from Canberra Endometriosis Centre, used some of my photos, with my permission, in her presentation. They were a contrast to the usual laparoscopy images and clinical diagrams.

It is exciting to see that my photos communicate so effectively. My display in the lobby slowed attendees down. Before and after the formal presentations, the attendees enjoyed looking at my photos and many spoke to me about aspects of women’s intimate health. Many people asked about the ideas I express in my photography. These discussions opened up discussion about support for women sufferers and gave the support group an opportunity to engage with attendees.

Topics and Speakers on the night:
  • Management of Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis: Dr Susan Evans
  • Endometriosis and Fertility: Dr Felicity Brims
  • Living with Endometriosis and Activities of the Canberra Endometriosis Centre: Melissa Parker

Margaret Kalms with some of her photographs from her solo exhibition, “Period Piece”
Margaret Kalms with some of her photographs from her solo exhibition

Buying Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain by Dr Susan Evans
Woman buying the book Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain

What is Appropriate?

Yesterday I went to K Mart at Belconnen and ordered some photographic prints to be made. I returned after an hour and a half to collect them, as requested, to be told by the assistant that all my photos had been ripped up because some of them were deemed ‘inappropriate’. I was offered a refund, so I went to the service desk to get my refund.

The service desk refused to give me a refund because the shop assistant in the photography section had not notified the service desk of the cancelled order! So I returned to the photography section which was located on the other side of the building. I asked why all of my photos were ripped up. The shop assistant repeated that some of my photos were deemed ‘inappropriate’ and reminded me that I had ticked an agreement on the computer when I placed my order that my photos did not contain anything illegal, pornographic etc. So I asked the shop assistant to see the store’s policy on what constituted ‘inappropriate’ given that none of my photos were pornographic or illegal. He explained that because the store employs children under 18 yrs, some as young as 15, that as a customer, I should be considerate of a young person’s sensitivities. I again asked to see the store policy that required me to be considerate of the potential sensitivities of their staff. He rummaged around for a minute and said that he did not have a copy of the policy. He would get management to print one and give it to me at the service desk along with my refund, which he would now organise.


So I went back to the service desk, asked for, and received my refund.

Then I waited... And waited.... And I waited... for the printed policy document.

The shop assistant at the service desk began to get concerned that I was still waiting.

After more than half an hour’s waiting the manager from the photography section came up to me. He repeated that because K Mart Belconnen employs young staff, they have a policy not to print ‘inappropriate’ photos to protect their young staff. I told him I was waiting to see the store policy on what constituted ‘appropriate’ photography so I would not have this problem in the future. He said that the shop assistant had shown him some of my photos and they contained child nudity and this was considered inappropriate. I was outraged that this man and his assistant accused me of child nude photography!!! All my models are over 18 and have signed model release forms!

My friend, who had patiently accompanied me throughout the exercise, pointed out that my photos have been exhibited publicly in many galleries in Canberra, Sydney and the south coast of NSW. But I did not want to get into a discussion about what constitutes nudity. Instead, I wanted to read their definition of ‘inappropriate’ so I could understand which of my photos could and which wouldn’t be printed at K Mart in Belconnen. So I asked again to see the store policy. The photography manager said that they did not have a copy and could not print one, despite the early advice of the sales assistant.

Then the store manager came. She said that they would have to get a copy of the policy from head office. K Mart Australia’s head office is in Melbourne 800km away! So it was clear that I was not going to be given a copy of the policy to read there and then. I then pointed out that they expected their customers to make decisions about appropriateness without access to the store policy! She replied that they usually had a copy, but at the moment they did not. Could they post or email it to me, she asked?

So I cannot get K Mart Belconnen to print all my photos because I cannot make an informed decision about which ones will be deemed ‘inappropriate’ and which will not. I would like to comply with their policy on appropriateness but I cannot do this until I see the policy and I cannot do this until K Mart head office posts or emails me a copy. How long will that take? In the meantime, no customer is able to comply with the store policy as they cannot access that policy.

The store manager said that a copy of the policy would be emailed to me. 24 hours later I am still waiting. K Mart Belconnen is open 24 hrs a day, but they cannot send an email in 24 hours!

Illuminated Musings - Review

I’m excited by a review written by Rosemary Blemings, assistant secretary and conservation officer for Field Naturalists Association of Canberra. She is an active member of Park Care groups and participates in many environmental activities around Canberra. Her review will give you an insight into my work in Illuminated Musings. She has captured the passion and meaning I aim to convey with my art. I have communicated!!

Illuminated Musings

After a period of quiet, thoughtful contemplation and practical focused work, I have created a new body of work which I am calling Ecology, Theology, Photography. It is Easter time and many people think more about God and theological things at this time of the year. I'm excited to let you know about an unusual and thought provoking exhibition.

Science, Art, Theology, Ecology - these are usually very different realms with the specialists in each field having little connections with other fields. Illuminated Musings merges these disparate realms into an enjoyable and educational experience. The exhibition is inspirational and breaks new ground.

Illuminated Musings, two local artists joining together to explore the art of abundance with encaustic paintings and Bible ecology theology with photography and montage. 

Susan Hey's encaustic paintings highlight the small delights of life in a traditional style of art using layers of wax, paint, collage and objects. Her work invites the viewer to notice everyday blessings and joys. Her work has a depth and beauty that engages the viewer and invites contemplation.

Margaret Kalms' art brings the Bible into the modern world merging science, theology and art. She brings a fresh interpretation to nature based Bible verses, using photography embellished with three dimensional objects including real ants on pins which are on loan from CSIRO entomology. This merging of ideas articulates difficult topics such as, extinct species, sustainable harvesting, weed management and the origins of language.

See Illuminated Musings at Strathnairn Homestead Gallery, 90 Stockdill Dr, Holt. The exhibition is open on Saturday 7 April, Sunday 8 April (Easter) and Friday 13, Saturday 14, Sunday 15 April 2012. Artists' talks on Saturday 14 April 2012 at 3:00pm.

Strathnairn Homestead Gallery has a pleasant cafe which serves lunch, coffee, tea and cakes and it is set amongst rural gardens and artists’ studios.

The exhibition is free to visit so bring a friend and come and have a pleasant outing in the countryside in west Belconnen, Canberra.

Abundance is watching a dragonfly_2160sm
“Abundance is watching a dragonfly” encaustic painting by Susan Hey
Life is a blessing. The simple things in life can delight us and inspire us. This dragon fly is fragile and has a short life, but the joy it gave will live on in this exquisite painting.

Not one sparrow falls to the ground without your father knowing_2152sm
“Not One Sparrow Falls to the Ground without your Father knowing” digital photograph and bird by Margaret Kalms
Matthew 10:29
The sparrow and crested pigeon are dead. Life and death happens around us all the time. Most of us, living our busy lives, do not notice when other species die unless it is a farm animal or a pet. God cares about the lives of all of his creation. Humans have a huge impact on other species, individuals die and whole species die. They die because of human actions. God knows when each bird (or mammal, or frog, or flower or tree) falls to the ground. There is an arrogance in the human enterprise when we think we can destroy so many living things without any consequences - as if God does not notice!

Illuminated Musings Poster