This year we decided to combine the annual Emanuel Archies Portrait competition with the celebration of International Women’s Day. Anyone from Year K to 12 was able to enter a portrait, the only criteria being it had to be on the canvas supplied, and it had to be a portrait of a woman. We did this in order to encourage students to carefully consider the ways in which they choose to depict a woman and challenge the way society as a whole depicts women in terms of stereotypes and gender expectations. It’s no secret that historically (and still today) in art and media specifically, women are often portrayed as mere aesthetic ornaments, and so students challenged this through their insightful, funny, and deeply meaningful portraits. Amongst the many entrants, there were portraits of mothers, sisters, teachers and friends, and famously empowered female figures like Cathy Freeman and Frida Kahlo. Through painting, drawing, collage and photography, students portrayed women who inspired them, resulting in an exhibition that truly honoured the meaning and purpose of International Women’s Day.
Over the course of the week all students were able to vote for the best Primary School and High School portraits. In the Primary category, the winner was Year 6 student Tamarah Aaron and the runner up was Romy McCorcodale. In High School the winner was Year 12 student Erin Baskin and the runners up (winning equal amount of votes) were Saachi Owen and Adena Sheps. Congratulations to them and all those who entered!