WOW Australia
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Brisbane Powerhouse 28 March to 8 April

WOW at Festival 2018 celebrates photography as the medium through which to ‘point a lens’ at the lives of women across the Commonwealth — celebrating their cultures, their strengths, their hopes and dreams for the future. The exhibitions program will include the installation Fearless by Brisbane-based artist Sue Loveday, thousands of beautifully hand crafted paper stars contributed by star weavers around the world. Inspired by the One Million Stars to End Violence project’s aim to create a society that’s free of violence and full of hope.


J.D 'Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headresses

Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery and Of One Mind present the first Australian tour of work by the acclaimed African photographer J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere for WOW at Festival 2018.  J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s Hairstyles series is a unique typological survey, which provides an enduringly beautiful and powerful insight into Nigerian culture. The exhibition will feature over 40 images printed from the original negatives.


Jody Haines: #IAMWOMAN


Be Seen. Be Heard. Be You!

#IAMWOMAN by photographic artist Jody Haines is an ongoing photographic portrait project exploring the Female Gaze, Female Identity and the visual language of gender and representation of Women. The work, which began at WOW Melbourne in 2017 arose out of a desire to subvert the status quo of daily female visual representation seen across print media and social media platforms. The work aims to develop a different type of female image, one that creates an equality and care for an individual’s presence. Across the exhibitions you’ll discover a returned gaze and a mandate for women to be seen, not as an object but as an individual — strong, beautiful and complex. 


Yumi Sanap Strong - Lets stand strong together

Yumi Sanap Strong showcases photographs and stories from human rights defenders in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The exhibition explores the causes, impacts and solutions around violence related to sorcery accusations. It challenges the usual representations of the issue and explores the complexities around cultural understandings and the structural inequalities people experience. These photographs and stories by human rights defenders present solutions that harness the strength of individuals and communities who advocate for the value of human life. This is a collaborative initiative among PNG based organisations in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology. Women from PNG will be appearing in conversations and in WOW Bites throughout the Festival.Yumi Sanap Strong — Lets stand strong together

Curators: Verena Thomas, Jackie Kauli
Human Rights Organisations: Kup Women for Peace, Kafe Women’s Association, Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, Kedu Seif Haus.


Leah Denbok: Nowhere to Call Home

Nowhere to Call Home is a powerful collection of photographs and stories of people experiencing homelessness by 17-year-old Canadian photographer Leah Denbok. Across these images Leah hopes to humanize people experiencing homelessness and shine a spotlight on the problem. For the past four years Leah has been mentored by National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore. When Leah was just 14, Joel said of her, “If she sticks with it, I think she’s well on her way to becoming not just a good photographer, but a great photographer. And I’m not kidding.” 

The inspiration for this work is Sarah Denbok who is travelling with her to WOW at Festival 2018 where they tell their story. Leah will also be one of the photographers in residence for the event. Their involvement has been made possible through support from the Government of Canada.


Outcast Arts: 
Red River

Lack of infrastructure and digital connectivity, combined with vast distances creates an insurmountable barrier between metropolitan and regional Australia. The voices of region go unheard despite the wealth of knowledge, passion, pain and humour our remote communities have to share. The Outcast team has traveled to remote communities and worked with regional partners to capture sounds and imagery from some of the most isolated parts of our country. The Red River installation invites audiences to share the stories of the resilient women who live there.

Director and Creator: Jordin Steele
Composer: Eve Klein
Librettist: Dirk Flinthart


The Future is Female

Working with the WOW London team we embarked on a project to seek views, from young women in particular, on what needs to happen to bring about gender equality in Commonwealth countries. The images of the posters they created will be projected throughout the Powerhouse during the Festival from communities in Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, and the UK. The views expressed together with the ideas that emerge in this Festival will be gathered and presented to The Secretary-General Commonwealth, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC on Sunday 8th April.The images can also be seen at the Sage Hotel James St our partner hotel for WOW at Festival 2018. 


Women Dreaming

Women Dreaming celebrates much-loved women whose work doesn’t always get recognition outside of their communities or professions. These women are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander sisters and Elders from across South East Queensland, chosen for their leadership by Dr Jackie Huggins, Dr Sandra Phillips and Dr Chelsea Bond, themselves Aboriginal women of high achievement.

This large-scale projection work by photomedia artist Jody Haines (Trawlwoolway) is led by these women, their faces, their emotions, their wisdom. The images acknowledge our sisters’ strength and womanhood, their community and knowledge, their songline and their sovereignty. The looping projection will be screened on the outer wall of Brisbane Powerhouse every night from sunset.