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Home is Where the Art is

Image: Jacqueline Fahey My Skirt's in Your Fucking Room! 1979. Oil on board. Collection of William Dart, Auckland

An active painter since the 1950s, Jacqueline Fahey is recognised as amongst the first New Zealand artists to paint from a female perspective, using her art to examine the day-to-day aspects of contemporary women’s existence at the time. She often painted from a trolley in her own household, surrounded by the bustle and activity of her own home, believing that: “Art should come from what an artist knows about life, and if what a woman knows is not what a man knows, then her art is going to have to be different.” This has produced a body of work overflowing with love, loss, conflict and quiet despair, which are all on display in the exhibition Say Something!, on at the Christchurch Art Gallery to March 18. The exhibition revisits Fahey’s most influential body of work, featuring a series of psychologically-charged interiors of the 1970s that bristle with all the intensity of domestic life, successfully challenging the previously accepted archetypes of the female experience and what were ‘appropriate’ subjects for art.

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