"In Australian arts media, 34% female artists, 61% male artists and 5% collaborations were the subject of feature articles and reviews. The covers included only 20% female artists and 80% male artists."



Going Global | Taking the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art to the world

Increasing the visibility of Australian women’s art is a core value for SHEILA. Our Going Global program will focus on creating online access to the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art, along with national touring and publications to increase its availability. These initiatives are important to extend the reach of women’s art into the lives of every Australian and to provide international audiences with a more inclusive history of Australian art. SHEILA will take a lead role to create a world where contemporary and historical women’s art and women artists are equitably represented, celebrated and acknowledged.


Kelly Doley, Things learnt about feminism #1-#95 2014 (detail), ink on card, 95 sheets, each 60 x 52 cm, installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Courtesy Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, The University of Western Australia. Photo Andrew Curtis.

Into the Light | Recovering Australia’s lost women artists 1870-1960

Help SHEILA write a new inclusive history of Australian art. It is no surprise that women’s art is often overlooked and slips from view. Into the Light is a comprehensive national initiative to locate, document and celebrate women artists in Australia. SHEILA will commission research in every state with the goal of uncovering active, exhibiting, professional women artists from 1870 to 1960. New South Wales 1870 to 1914 (phase one) is now complete and SHEILA’s research uncovered 430 professional women artists previously lost to history. When complete SHEILA’s Into the Light web based, searchable database has the capacity to transform the history of Australian art now and for generations to come.

Maud Sherwood,  On the way to market  1913, watercolour, 67 x 43 cm, Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, University of Western Australia, courtesy the artist’s estate.

Maud Sherwood, On the way to market 1913, watercolour, 67 x 43 cm, Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, University of Western Australia, courtesy the artist’s estate.

Contemporary Women

Supporting and celebrating contemporary women artists and addressing ongoing gender imbalance.

SHEILA supports and celebrates contemporary women artists through acquisitions, symposiums, lectures and publications, and by sponsoring The Countess Report, a regular count of gender equality in contemporary art. This provides data to argue for reforms that ensure today’s women artists have equal access and representation.


The organisation The Countess Report has counted and published statistics about the participation of women in Australian contemporary art for over a decade. In 2015, with funding from the Cruthers Art Foundation, Countess undertook research to uncover the ongoing gender inequalities in the visual arts in Australia using the year 2014. The subsequent Countess Report showed that women were under-represented in nine of the 10 key sectors of contemporary art, including in all state and national art collections and exhibitions, media coverage and art prizes. This count, which will be repeated every four years with assistance from Sheila, is helping change the landscape for Australian women artists.

A consequence of the under-representation is a lack of material on women artists to support primary and secondary school curricula, which sees women’s art often accounting for less than 15% of the curriculum in many states. Sheila hopes to change this by working with The Countess Report to develop primary and secondary educational materials on women artists, including many from the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art.


The Countess Report 2014.