This September marks 125 years since New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. Otago Museum has received funding from the Ministry for Women to create a project that will celebrate both the anniversary, and the women who make up the fabric of Dunedin.
Our Women: 125 of Dunedin’s Extra-ordinary Women is a photographic exhibition of 125 Dunedin women, coordinated by Otago Museum Marketing Manager Hannah Molloy.
Ms Molloy says, “The purpose of the project is to highlight the women in our community who make the city hum. We wanted to focus on the women of now – Dunedin’s history is littered with remarkable, glass ceiling-smashing women, and we wanted to emphasise that our women today also carry that strength.”
Two local photographers have been enlisted to create the immense exhibition, opening in the Beautiful Science galley at Otago Museum in early November. Sinead Jenkins and Nicola Wilhelmsen, professional photographers based in Dunedin, will be photographing the women in various locations around the city.
Sinead Jenkins says, "We are honoured to be a part of such an exciting project and look forward to meeting and photographing the incredible women of Dunedin. We are proud of the strong wāhine who have gone before us whilst being aware of the work still to be done to ensure equality for our future. This exhibition is about celebrating the women who enrich our lives and continue that important journey."
The exhibition features women from all walks of life, including creative practitioners, academics and women in STEM, young women and elders. Ms Molloy says, “It’s about highlighting how important our wāhine are to the very fabric of the city. Maybe that’s who makes your coffee in the morning, or educates your kids – it’s all of them. Our Women: 125 of Dunedin’s Extra-ordinary Women acknowledges all the different sorts of contributions that make our city what it is.”
The project culminates in an exhibition, but the Museum will also be using social media and a street poster campaign to take the work outside the walls of the Great King Street premises. Ms Molloy explains, “We’re using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share the work online, which means no matter where in the world they are, viewers will be able to see our wāhine and their stories”.
The street poster campaign is an effort to incorporate the work into the urban landscape, so that residents can engage with the work outside of the opening hours of the Museum.
Our Women: 125 of Dunedin’s Extra-ordinary Women opens on 3 November in the Beautiful Science gallery at Otago Museum. Admission is free and the exhibition closes on 18 November.