Crowd opens exhibition
A capacity crowd attended the opening event of IAM WOMAN at Percy Thomson Gallery (PTG) on Friday night.
More than 80 Taranaki female artists, and another two with strong local connections, make up this outstanding exhibition. The artists were also asked to write words that described the thinking behind their work. They were asked to explore the ‘essence of womanhood’ according to their world view. The editorial added an extra dimension to the exhibition and PTG will produce a booklet with artwork and words to commemorate it.
In 2018 New Zealand stands tall on the world stage and celebrates its role as a global leader. One hundred and twenty-five years ago women won the right to vote in parliamentary elections. New Zealand was the first nation in the world where females won the vote, something that has long been a source of pride, but something which, nowadays, may be taken for granted.
That should never be the case. It is vital we remember the women who risked their reputations, relationships, safety and security to demand and effect change; the women who have blazed trails for others to follow in various fields long dominated by men; the women on whose determined shoulders others can now stand; the women still leading by example and breaking down barriers that remain in place.
Guests were entertained by our very own suggragists, beamed back from 1893, in the midst of a protest outside Parliament.
Local musician Leona Palmer, accompanied by partner Laurence Cooper, sang women’s anthems such Am Woman, made famous by Helen Reddy. Leona also wrote a moving new song for the exhibition opening, When She Flies. It is available on Percy Thomson’s Facebook page.
Guest speaker Georgina Beyer held the audience in the palm of her hand with an
Iengaging and spirited opening speech.
Much of her life has been in the public spotlight when, after some years of street life as a sex worker, then as an entertainer and actor, she made history as the world’s first transgender mayor and then MP. Things haven’t gone her way, however, since she turned away from politics. For a start, she wasn’t able to land the kind of job that her skill and experience fitted her for. And then ill-health, from kidney and heart disease, took a terrible toll.
Georgina was first diagnosed with chronic endstage renal failure in 2013, and almost exactly four years later she is officially out of renal failure due to an offer of a kidney from a friend.
As an MP Georgina made a huge contribution to the Civil Union bill and prostitution reform. “You have to remember: law is easy to change, attitudes throughout a country are not. It takes generations and role models to show the nation that we’re not the horrible, demented, crazy people they might think we are.”
Thanks to all those who helped to make this such a ‘blockbuster’ event. It runs until January 27, 2019.
We managed to transport these wonderful suggragists to PTG from 1893. They look very familiar to some of our Stratford women!