A mural celebrating women in all of their diverse forms, ages and appearances has been unveiled in the lead-up to International Women’s Day (IWD).
As part of the City of Hobart’s recognition of IWD on 8 March, artist Sarah Wells was commissioned to create a large-scale mural in Bathurst Street celebrating women and their stories.
Wells described her work as “a series of female characters in different shapes, sizes and colours”.
“I would like to highlight things like hairy legs and stomach rolls; empowering women by showing them the beauty in these things,” she said.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the mural, titled Everyone is Beautiful, addressed issues faced by women throughout their lives.
“Having poor body image or dealing with other people’s expectation of perfection is something that many women contend with every day. This can be very damaging to their self-esteem and wellbeing,” she said.
“Through this mural, Sarah is calling on the community to stop this pressure on women. There’s beauty and charm in people of all ages, shapes and backgrounds.”
The public artwork was painted as part of last week’s Vibrance Festival and forms part of a series of cultural projects developed by the City of Hobart for International Women’s Day.
“This includes a refreshing of the Hobart Women’s History Walk, which was originally established in 1997,” Cr Reynolds said.
Based on work by historical researcher Lindy Scripps, the walk is guided by a brochure titled In Her Stride, which features 33 locations and accompanying stories of some of the women who shaped Hobart’s history.
“It includes historical sites relating to soprano singer Amy Sherwin, who was known in the late 1800s as the Tasmanian Nightingale, 1880s newspaper editor Sarah Inez Gill, and Tasmanian Aboriginal woman Trukanini – arguably the most well-known name in Tasmanian women’s history.
“The brochure is being reprinted and will be available from the Tasmanian Tourism and Information Centre.”
Also celebrating International Women’s Day, the City of Hobart’s Soapbox Billboards at Mathers Place are showcasing paintings and drawings from an all-female studio in 1930s Hobart.
“The women of the studio included Edith Holmes, Mildred Lovett, Florence Rodway, Dorothy Stonor, Ethel Nicholls, and Violent Vimpany,” Cr Reynolds said. “They trained together at Hobart Technical College under Lucien Dechaineaux, and their work was exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.
“Mildred Lovett is the best known of the group, and her career merits a three-page entry in the 2019 book Odd Roads to be Walking, about the important women who shaped Australian art.”
The Loop digital art screen in Elizabeth Street rounds out the City’s IWD program, with a streamed screening of All About Women – an annual day of talks and discussions held at the Sydney Opera House – from 10.30am to 7pm on Wednesday 10 March.
Photo caption: Artist Sarah Wells with her mural at 97 Bathurst Street.