The art of housework


The art of housework

Her Story: Images of Domestic Labour in Art
S.H. Ervin Gallery, Observatory Hill, Sydney, until October 21
Reviewed by Kim Spurway

"Her Story" is a unique exhibition of images of domestic labour in Australian art. It encompasses a wide range of techniques, emotions and attitudes, social classes and situations and a century of technological change in the domestic appliance.

Housework in art is usually the background against which "more important" issues are framed. Because housework is done by women and is performed in the home, is unpaid and undervalued, it is not regarded as a subject for art and culture.

This exhibition, however, shows that our private chores can provide interesting subject matter for an artist. From images of women (there is a real scarcity of men performing these tasks) scrubbing, dusting and cleaning to child-care, cooking and kitchen duties, the sense is of great humour, anger, idealism and frustration.

It is a rare treat to see the labour of women valued in a cultural sphere — whether that be the unpaid labour of the housewife or the labours of the domestic servant. I highly recommend this exhibition — it is colourful and thought-provoking.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.