Page 3297 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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throughout the project, realising that the photos were not about their egos but about a greater cause. The group wanted to promote wellbeing for women in general, and mothers in particular. In doing so, the exhibition incorporates three major themes:

Firstly, by challenging the narrow stereotype of women often presented in the media and the way in which women who do not fit this stereotype are made to feel inadequate. Here the Brindabella women worked with Dr Vivienne Lewis of the University of Canberra’s and her book on Positive Bodies.

The second strand of influence was the question: “When mothers die where are all the photos?” Often mothers feel more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it but their families would like to see the memories captured. BWG wanted to say that all mothers are worth photographing.

Thirdly, the exhibition adds to the dialogue created by an internet project where mothers held signs with words of wisdom for other mothers.

Each woman was tasked with creating her own message and an accompanying image. The group then engaged 2010 Canon AIPP Professional Documentary Photographer of the Year, Emily Hanna to capture the message of each woman.

Honouring the unique spirit of each woman, no stylistic guidelines were imposed. There is an amazing diversity in the images, which may be a welcome addition to a range of public spaces.

This exhibition, held at Artworks in Fyshwick also showcases many talented individuals who run small businesses in Canberra including Lib Creative, The Artworks, Zoe Barton hair and make up and Viki Alison of Do or Dye Hair. The group will hold a “Stories behind My Bella Life” afternoon tea with Dr Vivienne Lewis and Emily Hanna and the women from the group sharing their experiences from 2pm - 4pm on Sunday 15 September. The exhibition will run until the end of September 2013.

As a consequence of that, I think they have sold maybe 17 of the 20 photographs and have raised something like $1,200. That is money that will go to Boundless for the project that I am sure we all support. I think it is very important that, as My Bella Life says, there are women out there who are all different sizes and all different shapes and they all have different views on life. But what you got from this exhibition, if you managed to see it—and if you have not managed to see it, you have still got a few days left—is that there is a great rejoicing in life from these women.

I would like to thank the Brindabella Women’s Group and, in particular, Bianca Williams, their president, for the good work that they do. I also thank the secretary, Veronica Elliott, who helped put the whole thing together. They have done a fabulous job not just for the women of the group but for the community in highlighting what a great place Canberra is, what a diversity of people we are, how different we all are and how we all have something to offer to this community.

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