Passionately Connected – A conversation about the history of feminist posters in Australia
Wednesday, 6 June 2018, 6.30 pm
At: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
This conversation between library worker Sherri Hilario and Australian feminist art historian Dr Louise R Mayhew explores the history of feminist poster-making and the women’s movement in Australia.
Presented in the installation and print studio set up by Ciara Phillips for the Biennale, this talk explores both speakers’ continuing investigation and promotion of women’s artistic practice, while reflecting on the historical use of printmaking in political and social activism.
Sherri Hilario has been volunteering at Jessie Street National Women's Library since 2014, where she has been digitising and initially cataloguing the Library's collection of almost 1500 posters. Established in 1989 and named after Jessie Street, a lifelong campaigner for women’s rights, the peace movement and the elimination of discrimination against Aboriginal people, the specialist Library is dedicated to the preservation of Australian women’s work, words and history. Its collection of posters document the myriad campaigns fought by feminists for justice and equality in Australia including access to childcare, protection from violence, free and safe abortion, pay equity and social justice for minority groups, among many more. Hilario was among a group of Library volunteers to collaborate with Glasgow-based artist and 21st Biennale of Sydney participant Ciara Phillips on her ongoing project Workshop.
Dr Louise R Mayhew is an Australian feminist art historian and the Foundation Theory Convenor at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. For her 2014 PhD thesis, Mayhew produced the first history of women-only art collectives in Australia, after which she has documented the rise of ‘artist girl gangs’ in Australia’s contemporary artworld and researched the SLNSW’s holdings of posters made at Sydney’s infamous Women’s Warehouse (1979–81). A writer and frequent presenter at conferences, she has written for various journals and in 2016, published a book chapter ‘Collaborative Art in the Twenty-First Century’ through Routledge.