The Hon. Diana Laidlaw AM ~ Mastering Mosaics

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The Hon. Diana Laidlaw AM ~ Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015

Diana Laidlaw says she grew up in a family with strong, progressive and political views, an influence for Diana choosing to work in politics.

She started by assisting Federal and State ministers for 7 years before she was elected as a Liberal Party member of the Legislative Council to the Parliament of South Australia in 1982.

When her party won Government in 1993, Diana entered Cabinet and  proceeded to be the first woman to hold 3 consecutive portfolios over 3 consecutive terms (and 3 Premiers) as Minister for Transport and Urban Planning, Arts and Status of Women.

Diana was Minister for the Status of Women in 1994 during the year of centenary celebrations for Women’s Suffrage in South Australia and helped launch a time capsule stored in a vault in Parliament House for women to open in another hundred years.  It will be interesting to see what has changed then!

Representing the Arts as Minister must have ignited Diana’s passion for starting her own artwork with mosaics during this time.  Since her 21 year political career finished Diana’s mosaics are really taking off and are highly sort after.  Pictured here with her popular mosaic poles which she has exhibited widely throughout South Australia.  Loving her artistic life now, Diana works on her mosaics as much as possible from a farm studio in the Barossa Valley.

On a personal level it was fabulous to have Diana Laidlaw launch my first exhibition ‘women@work’ in 2000 as she represented women and the arts!

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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.

Helen Skidzevicius ~ Mrs Claus

Hello, long time no see! 

I would just like to say to all the Wednesday’s Woman followers and supporters, thanks for your fantastic feedback and encouragement throughout the year even though there has been a drop off in the last half of the year!

The drop off occurred for a couple of reasons, mainly I have been lucky enough to teach photography on Wednesdays at Uni SA since July and with teaching comes learning and I’ve discovered, I love teaching!!  I’ve also done some private teaching sessions and mentoring this year as well.

“Let us be up and doing” exhibition has been on the road travelling too, we went to Renmark, Quorn and Mt Gambier country shows and enjoyed some great feedback.

Please accept my apologies for the irregular blogs and know there are so many new women to feature in the future.

If anyone has any suggestions of people, companies, business etc that would like to sponsor the Wednesday’s Woman blog through selected advertising then please let me know.  It will help to keep the page more regular (eg. I would be made accountable!!).

Meanwhile, please enjoy your Christmas and New Year with some inspiration from Mrs Claus…

Jennie

xx

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Photography by Jennie Groom © 2016

Helen Skidzevicius loves Christmas!  Her partner and her dress up every year, decorate the house, the car and spread the magic of Christmas around their community.

Helen is also known as The Pudd’n Lady because she hand makes chocolate Christmas puddings with liquor, cherries and the recent addition of her secret spiced gingerbread flavoured puddings.

With one child living away from Australia and no grandchildren, Helen buys gifts for people in need and donates them to the wishing tree.

Helen has a lot going on in her life; full time carer for her partner, scorer for softball on Saturdays, sewing, painting and all things craft plus the Christmas puddings!  She will be thankful for a quite one on Christmas Day and will be enjoying a traditional lunch, time with her partner and sparkling wine!

Nici Cumpston – Achieving Artist

There is a saying “behind every good man is a good woman”, true, but I would also like to propose the opposite.  Behind Nici Cumpston, and many other successful Adelaide people including myself, is Andrew Dunbar, a man who gave so much to so many.  Andrew was a technically brilliant photographer and naturally talented photographic artist who recently lost his battle with cancer.

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015
Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015

Nici fortuitously stumbled into working intensely with Andrew on an exhibition called ‘Nakkondi/Look’ for the 2000 Adelaide Festival of Arts.  One of Nici’s students was meant to collaborate with Andrew but pulled out with 6 weeks to go asking Nici to step in.  During this time Andrew’s inspiration changed Nici’s ideas of being an artist and a professional person forever.

She describes herself as “faffing about” before she met Andrew.  I personally wouldn’t have thought she was faffing about given that she had completed an Advanced Diploma at North Adelaide School of Art, worked for 6 years at SA Police as a darkroom technician (eye opening work!) and inspired fellow Aboriginal students at Tauondi Aboriginal Community College as a photographic teacher before she had even met Andrew!

Now, Nici is an achieving artist, known for hand colouring black and white photographs of Riverland landscapes but this is not all, Nici is the Artistic Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s ‘Tarnanthi’ a festival of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.  She has worked hard since joining the Art Gallery as a trainee curator in 2008 to achieve her current position ironically in the same team as Andrew Dunbar’s sister, Tracey!  Her list of achievements is amazing, a very impressive Biography http://nicicumpston.com/p/cv.