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No longer just ‘the muse’

Left to right: Meg Waddington, Lisa Simonsen, Adair Davis, Linda Tilyard, Jenny Katene-Morgan, Leanne Taylor. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Six Wairarapa women have pulled together to create a new art exhibition inspired by the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

On Friday a new exhibition called ‘Not the Muse’ will open at Aratoi, celebrating the work of women artists Adair Davis, Jenny Katene-Morgan, Lisa Simonson, Leanne Taylor, Linda Tilyard and Meg Waddington.

Tilyard is the artist who initiated the exhibition after being inspired by Suffrage 125 Whakatu Wahine.

“Suffrage 125 fortified me. It made me think of the professional art practice of so many women artists I know.”

She said the exhibition will feature over 50 artworks in a range of materials including ceramics, printmaking, and mixed media.

“For hundreds of years, women have been objectified, seen as the muse for male artists; women artists usually have had to be stronger and louder to receive their due recognition.

“My experience is that women tend to help others and present their own work less often.”

Among the six of them, the women have more than 200 years of art practice and training.

Tilyard trained at Ilam School of Fine Arts and has been exhibiting since the 1980s.

Taylor learned screen printing from Quentin Roper, and studied textile design at Auckland University of Technology before attending TAFE Queensland.

She will display both ceramics and paintings.

Masterton artist Waddington will also feature a mix of ceramic arts.

“My recent work brings together my passion for texture, dressmaking and ceramics.”

Fellow Masterton artist Simonsen’s work explores learned patterns and how they change.

Katene-Morgan has a Bachelor of Arts in Maori Visual Arts and enjoys exploring textured paint and drawing techniques.

“My mahi is about sharing my creative knowledge.”

Art has always been a part of Davis’ life – Rita Angus lived with Davis and her artist mother, Ellinore Ginn, for a time.

“She looked at my palm when I was born, and said ‘Eli, Adair is an artist’ – my fate was sealed,” she said.

‘Not the Muse’ opens at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton on Friday at 5.30pm, with a meet-the-artist session on Saturday at 11am.

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