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Narratives of womanhood

Featured Program
Organiser: Head On Foundation
Free Event
Sujata Setia
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Entry Fee: Free, donations welcome

A vibrant thread throughout the various photography exhibitions featured in this year’s Festival was an exploration of motherhood and the often-conflicting experiences of womanhood.

While women are no stranger to being the subject of art, what changes when women create their own image? When they point the camera at themselves or their communities, creating their own ways of seeing and being represented.

This panel explores diverse narratives of what it means to be a woman and how several women artists have delved into their gendered existence through their unique photographic styles.  

Register for the livestream event here.

Anoushka Sansom 

Anoushka Sansom is an independent curator and artist based in Sydney and Wollongong. A proud Queer Jewish woman, Anoushka has a strong commitment to bringing diverse voices to the fore.

In 2022 she created emergent22 and emergent: conversations – interconnected projects that focus on supporting emerging artists and curators. Both programs recognise fellow artists and arts professionals as a key audience that can provide support at all career stages and that the commercial gallery system is often difficult to access for many artists. Anoushka has a strong interest in working with First Nations artists. She is currently collaborating on several projects with Murruwarri artist, Dr Virginia Keft.

She is the founder of Mishpokhe Projects – a socially engaged art project that supports Queer Jewish women through engagement in Yiddish cultural practices.

Anoushka holds a Master of Art Curating from the University of Sydney, a Master of Arts from University of New England and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Wollongong.

Aline Smithson

Los Angeles-based Aline Smithson is a visual artist, editor and educator. Having grown up in the shadow of Hollywood, she is influenced by the elevated unreal. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lenscratch and the author of several other arts publications. Her work Arrangement in green and black: portraits of the photographer’s mother was inspired by the simple yet brilliant 1871 painting of Whistler’s mother, Smithson employed salvaged items from garage sales, hand-painted sets and her proper yet hilarious mother to create this playful ensemble.

Mikaela Martin

Based in South Florida, Australian-born Mikaela Martin is a self-taught photographer informed by a background in film and theatre. Her work has been recognised by The Documentary Family Awards, Palm Photo Prize, and The Australian Photography Awards. Mikaela Martin’s Good Lord, leave your mother alone illustrates the relationship between Martin and her daughter – always on a battlefield between love and resentment. Through photography, something she has been begging to do ‘alone’, she gained a means to understand and move through this experience.

Ramak Bamzar

Iranian-Australian artist Ramak Bamzar moved from art school in Tehran to practising photography in Melbourne, where she explores the paradoxes of her relationship with femininity, religion and culture. Bamzar’s Moustachioed women and rhinoplastic girls depicts two different generations of women living in the patriarchy and inequality in Iranian culture. Almost 150 years apart, both generations embody the struggle between tradition and modernity.

Sujata Setia

Sujata Setia’s tryst with photography started during her move from rural India to the UK, and her battle with clinical depression. She has a Masters’s Degree in International Relations from King’s College London and has won and been shortlisted for numerous British and international photography awards. Her series’ Changing the conversation was prompted by her 8-year-old daughter returning from school one day and asking if she was beautiful. She noticed her daughter started to develop this binary worldview, so she started this work as an effort to expand humanity, creating a world without exceptions and moving away from binaries.

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Good Lord, leave your mother alone

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© Rob Johnston

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

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Image detail: Gary Ramage