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Australia contemporary art modern art performing arts portrait photography Suzanne Phoenix

WHAT DOES IWD MEAN TO YOU?

SUZANNE PHOENIX

// Suzanne is a Melbourne-based photographer whose photographs, in her own words, punctuate her life. Suzanne often focuses on a topic where she would like to see more representation or an interpretation by a female gaze. For International Women´s Day 2022, she created a series of portraits of artists and performers from Victoria, Australia.

Suzanne has been as creative as it gets during the pandemic period, something that has been really hard for photographers and artists. She even created “lockdown portraits” on screen together with other artists (we featured some of images of her Artists in Residence series last year).


“an artist serves their community.”

Suzanne Phoenix


What draws you to the arts?

“My dream job was to work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and I remember when I was in the interview and asked a similar question I simply answered ‘I just love the arts, so much!’ I felt embarrassed for years about this but the same is still true. The visual arts, performance and live music fill my soul and shake my stresses free.”

What do you like best about your annual IWD portrait series?

“Over the past twelve months in Australia, it is clear there is still a need for International Women’s Day, in some fashion. Gender based violence and oppression is ever present. I do this series each year as my small way of trying to change my world, our world. …in a positive way … documenting in the physical realm raw and honest portraits of cis and trans women and gender diverse people. And of equal importance (likely more) alongside each face is their self-expressed, unedited, and uncensored written words.”

8 March is International Women´s Day – IWD. On that day, many organizations and artists make special efforts to voice their hopes for a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. Suzanne has been producing a special portrait series for this day for many years. This year Suzanne Phoenix’s 2022 ’What Does International Women’s Day Mean to Me?’ project will be launched at the Brunswick Ballroom with a diverse show featuring some of Melbourne amazing cis and trans women, and gender diverse people – artists, musicians, burlesque and queer performers, DJ’s, actors, sex workers, professors and activists. The event launches a portrait photography exhibition in the Brunswick Ballroom Foyer and Brunswick Artist Bar. It is, Suzanne says “a subversive series of raw and honest portraits,”, and this ongoing work is now in its 11th year.

The 2022 series includes: Angie Hart, Brooke Russell, Catherine Barrett, Emma Maye Gibson, Ferri Maya, Fiona Kitschin, Frankie van Kan, Jo Bangles, Kat Mear, Kerryn Fields, Lauren Hammel, Linda Bull, Miranda Holt, Neda Rahmani, Niveen Abdelatty, Sarah Carroll, Tamzen Hayes, Theresa Harrison, V and Vika Bull. Here we can present only 10 of the portraits (see the artist names in the captions). For more images and other work by Suzanne, head to her website (see links below), where you can also order her books.

To learn a bit more about the artists represented, have a look at the brief artist statements for each, relating to what International Women´s Day means to each of them. And most of all, we hope you will take part in the day and celebrate or voice your concerns in your own way.


Click on the photos to see the original larger version.

What does IWD mean to you?

(cover photo) Ferri Maya, Burlesque performer, international title holder and goddess of rock’n’roll Burlesque: “Positive movement and power in the right direction

V, Artist and Musician
 
Hardcore DIY musician with a vision. V is releasing 3 LPs in 2022 with Dero Arcade (Sydney), Heavy Machinery Records (Melbourne), and Le Petit Signal (Berlin).
 
I am passionate about Women’s Rights. We live in a Patriarchal society; I’d like to help smash it.
Kat Mear, musician, violinist and singer. She plays in Cash Savage and the Last Drinks and the old time duo Craig Woodward and Kat Mear. She also plays session music whenever she has the chance.

This day also makes me reflect on the very long way we have to go as a community for women to be celebrated in the way they should be. As creators and innovators.”
Kerryn Fields, Award winning artist, storyteller and musician described as ‘Pure Magic’ 

IWD is a chance to honour and celebrate the accomplishments of Women throughout history, to highlight the challenges we face today and to empower our individual and collective success to come.”
Linda Bull, singer. Melbourne’s Bull sisters have been singing together their entire lives, starting in church with their mother, Siniva. After three classic albums with The Black Sorrows, Vika & Linda have released six studio albums, two live albums and a chart-topping anthology. They have also sung on number one albums by Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and John Farnham, done gigs for the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and the King of Tonga, and been nominated for four ARIA Awards.

International Women’s Day reminds me that I’m part of a bigger picture, and that the most important changes you can make for yourself are the ones that have a positive impact on others.
Vika Bull, singer.
Melbourne’s Bull sisters have been singing together their entire lives, starting in church with their mother, Siniva. After three classic albums with The Black Sorrows, Vika & Linda have released six studio albums, two live albums and a chart-topping anthology. They have also sung on number one albums by Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and John Farnham, done gigs for the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and the King of Tonga, and been nominated for four ARIA Awards.

International Women’s Day means to me, the struggle of my mother and thousands of women just like her working hard to care for their families and make better lives for their children.
Angie Hart, singer – songwriter. Solo artist and front woman/founding member of ARIA Award winning indie-pop band, Frente

“I hope that it no longer allows so many of us to fall through the gaps.”











Niveen Abdelatty, DJ, musician, event producer & promoter, activist
 
HipHopHoe lives and creates on stolen Aboriginal Land. Her work is dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of First Nations Peoples, LGBTQA+ peoples, the narratives of the African Diaspora and those otherwise silenced through oppression. Although her first love is hip hop, expect the unexpected as she spans genres, decades, moods and sounds in one giant leg-spread.
 
IWD is about more than visibility and recognition, it’s about taking back space and power, it’s women owning their own narrative, and directing their own lives.


Neda Rahmani, Performer / Percussionist / Public Figure.
Over a 20 year history, Neda has established herself as a cultural leader whose practice embodies inclusion, equity and justice. An entrepreneur, one half of Goodworthy, a social impact media company putting people and planet first. She is an artist, composer, director, story teller, facilitator, mentor, media commentator and all round raconteur. Drumming culture, collaboration and costuming are integral to her expressions as an artist. Her practice is a melding of contemporary and hereditary cultural practices that are 1000s of years old.

International Women’s Day is a time for me to lean in take a moment and connect to the parts of me that are natural, performed and nurtured.”
Theresa Harrison, Photographer and “Real Hot Bitch”, A photographer forever capturing and creating colourful chaos within the Melbourne arts world and spent 6 years as Head Bitch of the fiercely hot lycra loving dance passionate community that is Real Hot Bitches.

Imagining a world not suffocated by the patriarchy and the gender binary.
I’m tired but fired up.










All photos © SUZANNE PHOENIX


Please visit Suzanne´s website to see more of this series and also her other work. We have previously featured some pictures from her lock-down series ‘Artists in Residence’ .

The exhibition of her IWD 2022 portraits is sponsored by SMLXL Fine Art Print Studio. 10% of any profits from the 2022 series will be evenly split between the charities Djirra and Support Act. If you’d like to be part of it and are in the area, why not get yourself and your friends tickets?

Also check out Suzanne´s Instagram page.

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