Womens Art Register
The Australian Women's Art Register was established by artists in 1975 to record and promote the work of Australian based women artists. The Register now holds a collection of national significance with images dating back to 1840. Our documentation of the cultural heritage of Australian women artists and women's art practices is being used world wide by public organisations, universities, teachers, students, curators, artists and the general public.
Our ever growing archive consists of 20,000+ slides, documentation folders, books, journals and catalogues which document images and writings of over 5,000 Australian women artists. The collection represents a broad range of art styles from various eras in a diverse range of media and art disciplines including craft, design, photography and installation. Richmond Library (located in Victoria, Australia) actively supports the Register by collecting and maintaining books, catalogues and videos on Australian and International women artists.
20000 slides and over 3000 document files representing over 3000 Australian women artists.
The Women’s Art Register collection of archival material is a collection of national significance. The material in the collection covers the entire period of the organisation’s existence, and thus presents a sensitive snapshot of people, events and themes in the history of women’s art in Australia, as well as the organisation’s place in it. To anyone interested in understanding the material heritage and history of women’s art in Australia, and the many initiatives which the Register and women artists have been involved in, this archive serves as a primary research resource.
It is an important collection of material that relates to an independent art collective engaged in advancing issues related to recording and preserving information about the work of Australian women artists, and promoting this both to its constituents as well as to the broader community. It continues to be engaged in national programmes and initiatives, and the collections reflect these. The projects it has undertaken and been involved in have (had) meaningful outcomes on local and national levels, and have reflected advances for women and women artists in the international context. It therefore plays a significant role in encouraging women’s artists, and in the documentation and research of their achievements. The records trace this history and the Women’s Art Register’s place in Australia’s cultural landscape, and they are therefore deemed to be important and have value for our society.
The Register’s collection interprets some of the major themes in Australia’s creative, cultural and social environment, and it documents important initiatives and developments of the diverse female artists and craftspeople that have shaped the history of and continue to influence the contemporary cultural landscape. It is historically significant because of its association with a very broad number of women artists (regardless of their professional standing and chosen medium), with Australian art in general, and because of its leading role in key events and organisations in these contexts.
It is significant for recording the great number and variety of work that has and continues to be created by Australian women artists, and for documenting the challenges and opportunities which particularly face women artists. The comprehensiveness of the records also enables effective analyses of changes over time, especially in the context of major events and initiatives in Australia which impacted the women’s art movement. A further strength lies in the existence of the various collecting areas in one location, where each complements the other and therefore it has strong research potential.
The collection maintained by the Women’s Art Register is significant because of its ability to reflect and record the organisation’s aspirations and achievements. No other public collection in Australia has any substantial holdings that relate to the WAR, and this in conjunction with the extensive files and images of women artists and their work, and the initiatives undertaken to advance their work, this archive is an important resource for researchers in this field.