The Hon. Anne Levy AO – Presidential Power

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The Hon. Anne Levy AO       Photo by Jennie Groom ©

When I met and photographed Anne Levy a couple of years ago, just after her 80th birthday, I knew I was in the presence of a significant woman of parliament but doing some more research recently on Anne has really opened my eyes to how amazing and supremely significant she is and someone should write a book about her so school children can learn about her contribution to history, (just saying!).

Anne Levy is a trailblazer, and I don’t use that term lightly.  It’s rare to see these days politicians staying in the job for much longer than a term or two let alone 22 years and then choosing to retire, but this is what Anne Levy did which demonstrates her popularity in Government.

Anne was the first Labor woman in South Australia to be elected to the South Australian Legislative Council in 1975 where she continued serving the state until retiring in 1997.  During her tenure, Anne served as the first Labor President of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1986 to 1989.  Labor had not previously ever held the Legislative Council presidency. She was also the first woman to preside over any house of Parliament in Australia.  You may want to re-read those last two lines, I had to!

One of the first groups Anne joined as a founding member and later patron, was the Humanist Society of South Australia in 1960.  She was awarded the Humanist of the Year in 1986 for her work towards abortion law reform, voluntary euthanasia, family planning, decriminalisation of homosexuality, and other reforms.  Since then, Anne has been a member, life long member, board member, chair, patron and founder of many, many different groups and societies, not to forget, holding 6 different portfolios as a Minister whilst in Government.

Prior to politics, Anne was already a trailblazing woman for studying science and was awarded a Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1957.  In-between Honours and her Master of Science in 1963, she had 2 children and worked as a Tutor and Senior Tutor in Genetics from 1960-1975 at the University of Adelaide.

Currently, Anne is happy still serving on Boards including the State Theatre of South Australia and The Botanic Gardens and supporting artists by adding to her personal collection.

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International Women’s Day ~ Week!

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Yes, International Women’s Day is so popular it goes for a week, possibly even two! For my part in this celebration, I have an exhibition to show you today, not only one Wednesday’s Woman but 11 of them!  This exhibition is on display currently until the 20th of March, 2016 on the Pillars of Parliament House, Adelaide.

About the exhibition
Let us be up and doing”  as quoted by Mary Lee, a suffragette who was instrumental in gaining South Australian women the right to vote which also resulted in South Australia being the first place in the world where women could stand for Parliament. This act was achieved in 1894.

Despite these progressive beginnings over one hundred years ago South Australia was the last state to elect a woman into State Parliament (1959) and still to elect a woman head of Government.

In a speech delivered to the United Nations when Emma Watson launched the ‘He for She’ campaign she stated boldly that equality isn’t just a woman’s issue anymore; it’s a man’s issue too. It is true that equality is a society issue and the support of men is needed to help women progress into the future with equal representation in Government. The support of men is needed so the next woman Prime Minister is treated with the respect that such a position merits.

Let us be up and doing” is a public artwork on view at  Parliament House Adelaide.  It pays homage to our deceased forbears using typographical artworks and exhibits contemporary portraits of a selection of former, female South Australian politicians from a cross section of parties.  “Let us be up and doing.” will remind people that women can and have made significant political contributions with lasting benefits to the entire community and that this is something that is achievable into the future.

Art and Design Concept
Influenced by the portraits of politicians from the 1900’s, we have chosen to step back to what South Australian Parliament could have looked like if women were elected in the early years. The portraits taken in this contemporary age are black and white overlaid with Illustrations of gold ornate frames symbolising a layer of history. They are a mix of oval and arch shaped frames.

Hand drawn typography of a similar era is used over the portraits for names and titles and achievements.  The women look stately, confident and happy, not too dissimilar to Mona Lisa.  This mix of the old and the new celebrates history, the present and brings us into the future.

The Artists and Sub-Committee
Jennie Groom – Photographic Artist, Creator and Project Manager
Maya Graham – Illustrator
Lisa Philip-Harbutt – Project Mentor
Steph Key MP – Ambassador and Advisor

The T-shirt you could WIN!!
A black v-neck t-shirt with the ‘let us be up and doing’ logo.

To win, take a photo of the exhibition at Parliament House, Adelaide between now and the 20th of March and upload onto one of the below social media sites with the hashtag #LetUsBeUpAndDoing

Facebook
Let us be up and Doing

Twitter
@BeUpAndDoing

Instagram
Jennie_Groom

 

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