“In the name of feminism”: a photography exhibition will be unveiled at the SAM

SAM: A new photographic exhibition is coming in September. Photo by Megan Fisher

In celebration of the female form and in resistance to societal norms, a gathering of 432 women embracing their bodies is planned to line the walls of the Shepparton Art Museum.

Ponch Hawkes Photography Exhibition 500 strong began with the ambition to photograph 500 Victorian women over the age of 50 in nude form.

Shots were taken at Ms Hawkes’ studio in Melbourne, the Geelong Gallery and SAM at its former Welsford St location.

On September 17, in what Ms. Hawkes describes as “an honor and a pleasure”, the project will take over the community gallery space of the new SAM.

“It will, of course, include photos of dozens of brave women from Shepparton,” she said.

“Who joined hundreds of others in tearing their clothes off and posing nude in the name of art and feminism.”

The black and white photo series was created to celebrate the diversity and reality of the aging female form, born out of Ms. Hawke’s desire to confront conventions of the behavior and representation of women in art and society.

On Tuesday, September 6, SAM will host a Q&A session with SAM Executive Director Melinda Martin and Community Curator Caroline Esbenshade to discuss the upcoming exhibit.

“It’s fantastic to have this opportunity to celebrate the women who have been involved in this project,” said Ms. Esbenshade.

“Taking off your kit increases personal, social and professional vulnerabilities, and these women did it boldly.

“The portraits that make up the work are not only beautiful and full of personality, but also express a ‘joie de vivre’ that many will find inspiring.”

The official opening of 500 strong is Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. in the Community Gallery, with artist Ms. Hawkes speaking about the artwork. The exhibition is presented until November 7.

Ms. Hawkes will also join SAM at the closing of the exhibition for a SAM Talk, in conversation with Jacqueline Millner, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at La Trobe University.

More details can be found via https://sheppartonartmuseum.com.au/whats-on/upcoming/sam-presents-ponch-hawkes-500-strong/

Tracey L. Sweeney