Installation of Natalya Hughes’ Woman 6 (Harmony) [Reverse], 2019 in Know My Name, Part 2, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. 

Why is Sheila needed?

It seems to be the fate of generations of Australian women artists to be among our country’s best kept secrets.

We need to be seeing many more women artists in the 20th century rooms of our state and national art galleries, in our art history texts and in our school curricula, so that women’s art, women’s stories and women’s lives are no longer secret, and the next generation grows up with a more balanced picture of our country’s art history and therefore our nation’s history.

For our current female artists, things are slowly improving, however there is still a way to go. Sheila’s focus is on providing practical support to contemporary women artists and being a strong advocate for change.

Sheila is here to lead the way, walk alongside our contemporary women artists and be a voice for those from the past.

Bringing equal representation

A walk through most Australian art museums reveals that up to 80% of artworks are by men. What view of Australia would we see if art by women made up an equitable percentage of museum displays?

One of our ambitions, as the Board of Sheila, should be that we won’t need to exist at some point! However, somehow the conversation is still stalled right now and there are all sorts of reasons for that – these are structural, difficult, thorny, long term questions and unfortunately, it’s going to take more than a few gestures to make real and lasting change. This is where Sheila steps in.

Angela Goddard, Sheila Board Member