The city's Heritage Weekend is complemented by Becoming Modern: Australian women artists 1920-1950, the latest exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
Displaying the breadth of the gallery's commitment to increasing its ownership of artworks created by women, 97 per cent of the exhibition has been drawn from its own collection, with the remainder coming from Federation University and other sources.
Curator Julie McLaren emphasised Becoming Modern features artists with strong connections to Ballarat.
"That's a huge focus for this show," Ms McLaren said.
"This is the main drawcard for us for Heritage Weekend."
For Art Gallery of Ballarat director Louise Tegart, Becoming Modern presents an opportunity to grow the gallery's collection with a strategy towards acquiring more significant works by women. A list of unrepresented women artists has been developed to target some of their works.
"The Gallery's exhibition strategy will also be examined to ensure that the display of works by women artists becomes more equitable," Ms Tegart says in her introduction to the exhibition.
"Over recent years, the representation of women artists in the collection has grown. The work of women artists of the period aside from Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor and Nora Heysen have remained relatively inexpensive in the commercial art market.
"Many forgotten artists have come to light through survey shows at public galleries including Clarice Beckett, Agnes Goodsir and Constance Stokes. Others, such as Joy Hester, Mirka Mora and Grace Crowley, have been recognised for their significant role in art movements rather than just as female companions of male artists.
"However, as Dr Janine Burke, who has been a champion of overlooked Australian women artists, has noted: 'I have found... that it's not enough to write one book, curate one exhibition about a woman artist and let it rest there. The price of re-discovery, or so it seems, is eternal vigilance; if the flame is not attended it will go out and the reputation of that artist will again sink into obscurity.'
"There are still many women artists, particularly from the early twentieth century, whose work needs to find its way into the collection. Recent exhibitions drawing on the collection have been an excellent way to focus collecting priorities.
The Gallery's exhibition strategy will also be examined to ensure that the display of works by women artists becomes more equitableAGB director Louise Tegart
"This collection of works from 1920-1950 is a celebration of the tenacity, innovation and resilience of women artists. The works in the Art Gallery of Ballarat collection will continue to be a testament to their importance in the history of Australian art."
The exhibition will run daily until August 4.
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