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Without Classification: Hazel Hawke

This exhibition was jointly organised by the JCPML and the John Curtin Gallery and was on display at the John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University of Technology, from 26 September to 10 November 2002.

View the online version of ‘Without classification’.

About the exhibition

Asked whether she saw herself as a family woman or a career woman, Hazel Hawke, then wife of Bob Hawke, Australia’s Prime Minister from 1983 to 1991, answered ‘I don’t classify myself’. Without Classification brought together important material from the Hazel Hawke Collection with distinguished examples of Poster Art in Australia.

During her years in the Lodge from 1982 -1991, Mrs Hawke was a vigorous campaigner for many causes affecting the lives of Australians. She became Patron to wide-ranging agencies in welfare, education, arts, and the environment. In particular, she was an advocate for the rights of women, children and Indigenous Australians. Her speeches, interviews and letters provide insight into her values and aspirations.

Issues that Mrs Hawke considered important were also in the forefront of the awareness of many artists working in Poster Collectives across the country, using the art poster as a means to define and communicate political and social awareness. The 1970s spurred many community-based co-operative presses to print the work of contemporary artists and writers. Many of the Presses flourished throughout the 1980s and some endure today. As Julia Church wrote in her catalogue for the exhibition Pressing Issues at the State Library of Victoria in 1990 ‘The presses have championed the right of people to shape their world’.

Without Classification examines a socially vibrant period in recent Australian history through merging a voice from high office with the voices of grass roots artists. It was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.

Curator for this project was Margaret Moore. Margaret is an Independent Contemporary Art Curator working in Perth. She is a former Curator at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and has worked on a range of exhibitions and publications on recent art and culture involving Australian and international artists.