Seeking approval: high profile women explore the issues

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Elizabeth Gower’s exhibition ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Tobias Titz.

Elizabeth Gower’s exhibition at RMIT Gallery he loves me, he loves me notpoetically reflects on women’s continuing quest for approval, permission and sanction from the generic ‘he’.

We have a stellar line up of influential women ready to explore the many issues arising from Gower’s powerful exhibition – including  women’s power struggles across different generations and cultures, sexual violence and intimate partner violence, the need to please, and the ways the arts and the digital sphere provide an arena for women’s voices to be heard.

Join us at RMIT Kaleide Theatre at 360 Swanston Street (next to RMIT Gallery) for a free panel discussion on 7 April, 5.30-6.30 pm – “Seeking approval: a question of power, gender or culture?”

We have moved this event from RMIT Gallery into the Kaleide Theatre because of popular demand. Please note: there is no disabled access to Kaleide Theatre. We apologise for this inconvenience.  Those unable to attend because of this restriction are asked to contact RMIT Gallery on (03) 9925 1717 to be added to a special notification list for when the podcast of the event is released.

Art critic Robert Nelson wrote in his review of the exhibition for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (March 21) , “Gower’s critique of patriarchy emphasises both the embeddedness and the absurdity of love mixed with power. Love should be reciprocal but it’s unhappily trammelled with gendered dependency.”

The artist herself feels there are many issues at play in women seeking approval from men – both in love and life, work and the public sphere, and sees these symbolically reflected in her exhibition at RMIT Gallery.

Speakers:

  • Dr Elizabeth Gower (artist, educator)
  • Dr Leslie Cannold (ethicist, researcher, author The Book of Rachael, What, No Baby? The Abortion Myth)
  • Sushi Das (Opinion Editor, The Age, author Deranged Marriage)
  • Dr Meagan Tyler (RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, editor Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism).
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(left to right) Elizabeth Gower and Leslie Cannold, who opened the artist’s exhibition at RMIT Gallery on 10 March.

Key people

Dr Elizabeth Gower

Dr Elizabeth Gower teaches at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. She has a PhD from Monash University, and an MA from RMIT. She has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and major group exhibitions, and her work is held in many notable public collections in Australia as well as numerous private collections in Australia, France, Italy, UAE, UK and USA.

Read more: Just cut out for her art

Dr Leslie Cannold

Dr Leslie Cannold is an ethicist, researcher, educator and public presenter on values-driven leadership, gender equity and respectful relationships. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of International Business and Asian Studies at Griffith University and Senior Lecturer at the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit at Monash University. Cannold is a regular on ABC TV’s Moral Compass and occasional columnist for The Age.

Read more: Wedded bliss, until the next stage do us part

Sushi Das

Sushi Das is an award-winning British/Australian journalist of Indian origin who has worked at the Age for 20 years. She currently holds the position of opinion editor. Das has worked in various roles at the Age, including news editor and columnist. Her work has been recognised with two Melbourne Press Club Quill awards, including Best Columnist. Her memoir, Deranged Marriage, is published by Random House.

Read more: The anti ‘arranged marriage’ author.

Dr Meagan Tyler

A Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the RMIT School of Management, Dr Meagan Tyler’s work examines feminist theory, sexuality and violence against women, with the aims of challenging and changing social constructions and preconceptions. She is the editor of Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism (Connor Court, 2015) which examines the rise of pop feminism, taking on topics ranging from pornography and forced marriage to sexual violence and sex trafficking, to argue that this kind of feminism does little to challenge the status quo.

Read more: Tyler writing on the Women’s Web

 

Registration and bookings

What: Public discussion: “Seeking Approval: A Question of Power, Gender or Culture?”

When: Thursday 7 April, 5.30-6.30 pm

Where: RMIT Kaleide Theatre, 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne.(note – staff will be outside RMIT Gallery at 344 Swanston Street to direct people to the venue which is located in the next building)

Cost: Free – bookings required. Register on Eventbrite to attend: click here

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory opens at RMIT Gallery

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016.

Despite the rain, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at RMIT Gallery on 10 March for the opening of Richard Bell: Imagining Victory. The exhibition, developed by Artspace and toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW, presents the leading Australian artist’s highly acclaimed and provocative works Scratch an Aussie (2008) and Broken English (2009) as well as the series’ culminating new work The Dinner Party (2013).

The trilogy of video works expand upon narratives and concepts developed within Bell’s artistic practice that draw heavily upon the mechanisms of activism. In the context of the gallery opening , where viewers with glasses of wine seemed to mimic the actors on the screen captured in similar settings, Bell’s work had an added edge.

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016.

It was fitting that Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Jr, related to the traditional owners of the land on which the university gallery stands, warmly welcomed guests to enjoy the work.

Bell has been a leading force within the field of contemporary Australian art since the 1990s, making provocative gestures and works that confront the histories and present issues surrounding race relations. The artist frequently integrates expressions of political, cultural, social and economic disenchantment emerging out of the uneasy relationship between Aboriginal peoples and colonial migrants to Australia.

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Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Jr at the opening of the Richard Bell Imagining Victory exhibition at RMIT Gallery on 10 March. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

The exhibition opening coincided with the Australia Council Awards ceremony in Sydney, where Bell was on hand to receive a prestigious Australia Council Visual Arts Award. The 2016 Australia Council awards honour eight distinguished Australian artists who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts over many years.   These prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and outstanding achievement awards in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, visual arts, theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

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Video still from Richard Bell: Imagining Victory, opening night, RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

Professor Paul Gough , Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University, giving the opening address at the Richard Bell Imagining Victory exhibition. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

In his exhibition opening address, Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University, said that for the viewer, Bell’s video trilogy is ‘hypnotically watchable and at the same time deeply discomforting”.

“These works demand that the audience confront their own perceptions of Aboriginal culture. By using outwardly accessible middle class locations, Bell lures the viewer into a safe space. If we feel uncomfortable watching these caustic and beautifully crafted narratives then he will have achieved his aim – never underestimate the lingering impact of this work.”

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016

For the Biennale of Sydney (18 March – 5 June) Bell has constructed a tent on the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Titled ‘Embassy’ this homage to the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy will serve as the setting for a series of screenings and talks with prominent activists.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was first assembled by activists on the lawn of Parliament House, Canberra, in 1972 and continues to bring issues of Indigenous health, housing and land rights to the forefront of Australian politics to this day.

Elizabeth Fortescue, Visual arts writer for The Daily Telegraph, notes “Bell’s Embassy has already been activated in New York and Moscow. But establishing it in Sydney Cove, at arguably the exact spot where Governor Phillip raised the British flag, gives Embassy a piquancy it probably could not have anywhere else.”

If you would like to see Richard Bell’s work but can’t get to the @biennalesydney – head to @RMITGallery for Bell’s video trilogy – Imagining Victory (until 23 April).

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory is developed by Artspace and toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Opening night images: new exhibitions at RMIT Gallery

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(left to right) Elizabeth Gower and Leslie Cannold at the opening night of Gower’s exhibition ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ at RMIT Gallery.

Two new exhibitions at RMIT Gallery explore the ways women still feel culturally conditioned and socially obligated to seek male approval. Elizabeth Gower’s he loves me, he loves me not and Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawat’s Quiet Voices were opened on Thursday 10 March by ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold and journalist and author Sushi Das.

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(left to right) RMIT Gallery director Suzanne Davies and journalist and author Sushi Das, who opened Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawat’s exhibition Quiet Voices.

Dr Leslie Cannold said that the mere idea of Gower’s exhibition moved her so much and asked her to question why it is that women ask ‘does he loves me’ rather than ‘do I love myself?”

“Standing among the suspended panels, seeing the words repeated over and over again in the gallery space, I am even more moved by Gower’s work when I see it in the flesh,” Cannold said.

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Endless: Elizabeth Gower wrote the phrase ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ 21,319 times, painstakingly transcribed on 20 lengths of semi-transparent drafting film suspended from floor to ceiling in RMIT Gallery.

Sushi Das, The Age opinion editor, said Quiet Voices poetically address issues women in India face with obligation, patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic. Das, author of the memoir Deranged Marriage said the works by Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawat strongly address how women are conditioned to seek approval not only from their parents, but everyone, including their husband, bosses, even their children.

“We might not understand the language in these films, but instinctively relate to them and see within them the seed of women’s potential, no matter when that decision to break free from expectation finally comes, and for some, it isn’t until menopause or when they become grandmothers.”

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Pushpa Rawat’s film Nirnay (Decision) explores the journey of young, educated women on the outskirts of Delhi who feel powerlessly obligated when it comes to taking any major decision regarding their future.

On Thursday 7 April from 5.30-6.30, RMIT Gallery will be holding a free panel discussion on “seeking Approval: A question of power, gender or culture?”

Speakers Dr Elizabeth Gower (artist, educator), Dr Leslie Cannold (ethicist, researcher, author The Book of Rachael, What, No Baby? The Abortion Myth), Sushi Das (Opinion Editor, The Age, author Deranged Marriage) and Dr Meagan Tyler (RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, editor Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism) will explore women’s power struggles across different generations and cultures, including sexual violence and intimate partner violence, the need to please, and the ways the arts and the digital sphere provide an arena for women’s voices to be heard.

Free click here – bookings necessary

 

Exhibition openings 10 March 6-8 pm at RMIT Gallery

Reminder – please join us at three exhibition openings at RMIT Gallery tonight Thursday 10 March from 6-8 pm: Elizabeth Gower: ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawat: Quiet Voices, and Richard Bell: Imagining Victory. All welcome.

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Richard Bell | Imagining Victory 

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University

Drawing heavily upon the mechanisms of activism, this significant solo exhibition by leading Australian artist Richard Bell is centred on a trilogy of recent video projects that attempts to dig beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations. An Artspace exhibition toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

 

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Elizabeth Gower ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ . Installation image RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Dr Leslie Cannold, Ethicist, researcher, author 

Women in all cultures are encouraged to seek validation at an early age, by conforming to prescribed behaviours, sanctioned body image, fashion, career and lifestyle choices. In the handwritten phrase he loves me, he loves me not RMIT Alumnus Elizabeth Gower poses the question 21,319 times symbolically representing a lifetime of re-evaluation and wavering, resilience and resolve.

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Image (screen detail) Mithu Sen I have only one language; it is not mine, 2014, 42 min. Video installation based on a performance. Installation image at RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat | Quiet Voices

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Ms Sushi Das, Opinion Editor, The Age, author 

The works by Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat poetically address issues women face with obligation,
patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic.For her multi-media installation I have only one language; it is not mine renowned Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen spent a month at a Kerala orphanage to experience firsthand what life was like for these marginalised young girls. Nirnay (Decision) the debut film of director Pushpa Rawat explores Pushpa’s journey and that of her young, educated women friends on the outskirts of Delhi who feel powerlessly obligated when it comes to taking any major decision regarding their future.

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day

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Elizabeth Gower’s exhibition at RMIT Gallery ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ (11 March – 23 April)

Happy International Women’s Day 2016! With the #IWD 2016 campaign theme #PledgeForParity calling for ways to collectively help women achieve advancement and leadership, please join us at two new exhibitions that open this week at RMIT Gallery – exploring how women are culturally conditioned to seek approval.

On Thursday 10 March 6-8 pm, Elizabeth Gower’s ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ will be opened by ethicist and author Dr Leslie Cannold, and Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawta’s Quiet Voices will also be launched by journalist and author Sushi Das.

In the handwritten phrase he loves me, he loves me not Elizabeth Gower poses the question 21,319 times symbolically representing a lifetime of re-evaluation and wavering, resilience and resolve.
In Quiet Voices,internationally acclaimed artist Mithu Sen and emerging film maker Pushpa Rawat poetically address issues women face with obligation, patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic.

All welcome – please join us in celebration of hearing women’s voices.

March exhibitions opening at RMIT Gallery

Please join us Thursday 10 March 6-8 pm to celebrate the opening of three exhibitions by leading Australian artists Richard Bell and Elizabeth Gower, internationally acclaimed artist Mithu Sen and emerging film maker Pushpa Rawat.

Richard Bell | Imagining Victory 

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm  – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University

RichardBell_evite_23Feb
About the exhibition
Curator: Alexie Glass-Kantor | Artist: Richard Bell
Drawing heavily upon the mechanisms of activism, this significant solo exhibition by leading Australian artist Richard Bell is centred on a trilogy of recent video projects that attempts to dig beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations.
An Artspace exhibition toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Richard Bell has just been announced as the recipient of a prestigious Australia Council Visual Arts Award.

The 2016 Australia Council awards honour eight distinguished Australian artists who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts over many years.   These prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and outstanding achievement awards in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, visual arts, theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

Now in its second year, the Australia Council Awards ceremony will be held in Sydney on Thursday, 10 March, so unfortunately Richard Bell will be unable to attend the RMIT Gallery opening of his exhibition.

Richard Bell has held a number of solo exhibitions since 1990 and works across a variety of media, including painting, installation, performance and video. His work explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial and Indigenous art production. He is represented in major collections in Australia and New Zealand and has had significant solo exhibitions internationally, including at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam this year. His work Embassy will feature in the 20th Biennale of Sydney in March. He received the Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award in 2003. Richard is part of the Proppa Now Collective in Brisbane, which mentors young Indigenous artists.

RMIT Gallery Elizabeth Gower evite

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  
Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm   – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April
Opening SpeakerDr Leslie Cannold Ethicist, researcher, author
About the exhibition

Curator: Suzanne Davies | Artist: Elizabeth Gower

Women in all cultures are encouraged to seek validation at an early age, by conforming to prescribed behaviours, sanctioned body image, fashion, career and lifestyle choices. In the handwritten phrase he loves me, he loves me not RMIT Alumnus Elizabeth Gower poses the question 21,319 times symbolically representing a lifetime of re-evaluation and wavering, resilience and resolve.

 

RMIT.QuietVoices_FINALevite

Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat | Quiet Voices

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm  – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Ms Sushi Das Opinion Editor, The Age, author

The works by Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat poetically address issues women face with obligation,patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic.

For her multi-media installation I have only one language; it is not mine renowned Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen spent time at a Kerala orphanage to experience firsthand what life was like for these marginalised young girls. Nirnay (Decision) the debut film of director Pushpa Rawat explores Pushpa’s journey and that of her young, educated women friends on the outskirts of Delhi who feel powerlessly obligated when it comes to taking any major decision regarding their future.