a salute to contemporary heroines
Portraits by Jana Vodesil-Baruffi
Text by Carmen Jenner
For Simone and all the other young women who have been denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
- 8. Foreword
- 10. Publisher's note
- 12. The project
- 14. About the artist
- 20. A salute to contemporary heroines
- 230. Acknowledgements
- 232. Sponsors
- 20. Abigail Bray
- 24. Angela Ryder
- 28. Anne Aly
- 32. Anne Russell-Brown
- 36. Beryl Grant
- 40. Brooke Topelberg
- 44. Carina Hoang
- 48. Carmen Lawrence
- 52. Carol Hanlon
- 56. Carol Martin
- 62. Casta Tungaraza
- 66. Cheryl Edwardes
- 70. Corrin Everitt
- 74. Denise Goldsworthy
- 78. Diana Warnock
- 82. Diane Annear
- 86. Fiona Stanley
- 90. Fiona Wood
- 94. Halina Szunejko
- 98. Helen Box
- 104. Isobel Moran
- 108. Jade Lewis
- 112. Janet Haydon
- 116. Jolleen Hicks
- 120. Josephine Spaull
- 124. Judith Parker
- 128. June Butcher
- 132. Kate Lamont
- 136. Kath Mazzella
- 140. Leah Umbagai
- 146. Lesley Akora
- 150. Lisa Scaffidi
- 154. Liz Davenport
- 158. Louise Sauvage
- 162. Lyn Beazley
- 166. Margaret Court
- 170. Margaret Smith
- 174. Marilyn Hopkins
- 178. Martine Pitt
- 182. Maureen Meredith
- 188. Penny Flett
- 192. Pri Adilbert
- 196. Priya Cooper
- 200. Rebecca Britten
- 204. Rona Chadwick
- 208. Ros Worthington
- 212. Tennille Bentley
- 216. Terri-ann White
- 220. Tina Wilson
- 224. Vanessa Elliott
Permanent Impressions is a stimulating exploration of 50 inspirational Western Australian women selected for their strength of character and willingness to stand up for their beliefs. Each of the women portrayed is a community leader and role model whose contribution deserves to be celebrated and recorded for posterity.
Jana Vodesil-Baruffi, an acclaimed artist whose work has been exhibited around the world, was born in the Czech Republic. Her passion for artistic expression blossomed after she migrated to Australia in 1981 and immersed herself in a wide variety of creative endeavours including copper enamelling, china painting and watercolour. In 2011 her quest to fulfill her artistic passions led her to set herself the challenge of visually capturing the spirit of contemporary Western Australian women. Jana's skills were tested by her choice to limit her tools to a simple palette knife, in lieu of a paintbrush, and to restrict each painting to 24 canvas hours. She has met that challenge with great success. The portraits depict 50 women in a thoughtful and thought-provoking style. The collection will, I believe, inspire others and strengthen their resolve to pursue their own passions and dreams.
In an unexpected way, the portraiture of these women became a motivational force in Jana's own life. During the artistic process she
discovered the inner passion, resilience, courage and determination inherent within her subjects, which touched something deep within her. It says much for Jana's sense of social responsibility that she is donating exhibition entry receipts and part of the proceeds from the sale of this book to support the Leukaemia Foundation.
The names of many of the women depicted here will resonate deeply with Western Australians. They are women who are respected for their outstanding achievements and for the struggles they have overcome. I have had the good fortune to meet and work with Tenille Bentley, Fiona Wood, Priya Cooper, Ros Worthington, Penny Flett and the indomitable Lyn Beazley, whose friendship I cherish. Although I have not personally met them, I have admired from afar the courageous Jade Lewis, Carol Martin and Carina Hoang for the work they are doing in their respective areas. Other names are new to me, but I have been inspired by the stories of these women also. As I pause to examine each portrait, studying the fine lines, the warmth of the eyes or the tilt of the chin, I reflect on what events and influences have helped mould their characters.
This beautiful book by Jana Vodesil-Baruffi effectively captures the inner spirit of 50 remarkable Western Australian women and will leave a permanent impression on all who are fortunate enough to turn its pages.
When I was approached to be included in this wonderful collection of portraits, I felt humbled. Then I was asked to produce Permanent Impressions as a book, and I was absolutely honoured. To create something that complements and enhances a project of this calibre wasn't something I could refuse. It was a challenge I couldn't have undertaken without my team.
Jana is an exceptionally talented and multi-faceted artist who has exhibited both locally and internationally. While noted for her portraits in oils, she is prolific also in other mediums and genres. In 2007 she won the people's choice award in the inaugural Black Swan Portraiture Award.
In the early 1980s Jana escaped what was then Czechoslovakia and its strict communist regime under traumatic conditions. After such repression, she was touched by the acceptance and generosity she received in her new home, Perth. As a 'boat person' myself, I can relate to Jana's flight to freedom and the pursuit of a better life, as well as her longing for acceptance in a new country.
She has returned the favour to Perth with Permanent Impressions. The 50 portraits, which she completed in one year, will be exhibited all over the state and possibly beyond. The book tells a story about each and
every one of these women, offering some insight into the journey their life has taken.
All the women selected have made a significant contribution to the Western Australian community. They include high-profile identities, such as Fiona Stanley and Lisa Scaffidi, and also lesser known, but equally important, people like Diana Warnock and Tenille Bentley. The groundwork many of these women have laid for future generations is remarkable, and to be among them is extraordinary to me on a personal and professional level.
The funds raised from the exhibitions will go towards the Leukaemia Foundation, a charity that is very dear to Jana and her husband, Kevin.
Each of Jana's expressive portraits provides the viewer with a tiny glimpse into the subject's challenging past as well as her passage through life. To our most valued readers: please enjoy this snapshot of the lives of 50 of Western Australia's most influential women.
In early 2011 Jana Vodesil-Baruffi came across a book by New Zealand artist John Badcock that showcased his paintings of a hundred people. This inspired her to develop a similar concept of producing a series of portraits, each one to be completed in a strictly limited timeframe of 24 hours. She practised with portraits of her students, friends and family, and found that completing each portrait in a short timeframe was satisfying as well as challenging.
From subjects she was familiar with she moved to painting the portraits of people who have made a difference to society, and this was the birth of Permanent Impressions. The next step was determining who would be included on the list. At the time, the International Women's Day Centenary Celebrations were in the planning stages of developing the WA Women's Hall of Fame, and this seemed like an ideal place for Jana to start the search for 50 of WA's most influential women. Many of them are from the arts, business and science sectors, while others aren't in the Hall of Fame or even well known. Many have quietly dedicated themselves to their cause with little fanfare or acknowledgment. Through this project, the public will learn of their wonderful achievements and strengths and marvel at their resilience. As their inspiring stories reach a wider audience, it can be envisaged that a new generation of local heroes will be seen to have emerged.
Jana's process was to sketch each woman in a preliminary sitting while taking a series of photographs to refer back to. This initial meeting gave her the opportunity to find out more about the women, and the insight she gained is clearly evident in the finished product. Since many of the subjects are exceptionally busy people, keeping the sittings to under an hour was important. The sketch was later redone once or twice more and then each portrait was begun as an underpainting crafted from the sketches and the photos. Some even feel that the underpaintings themselves are exquisite works of
art. Jana used a palette knife to conserve the vibrancy of the colours and, in the hands of the skilful artist that she is, to enhance the speed of application.
The portraits provide educational opportunities for emerging artists as they learn from Jana's knife technique and become inspired by the challenge she set herself. We believe as well that this contribution to the arts industry will engage the community culturally while also exposing them to visual beauty.
Painting and then exhibiting 50 portraits by itself makes a powerful statement as a stand-alone collection. However, creating a book documenting the process – with photographs of the portraits and a biography of each woman – will ensure the project's longevity and accessibility, and the portability of the work. There is in fact a plan to give it some international exposure, with the hope that interest might snowball. Equally important are the funds that will be raised for the Leukaemia Foundation, which invests millions of dollars each year in vital research into the disease to improve treatments and finding cures, as well as providing information and emotional support to those suffering from the disease and transport and accommodation for regional families required to relocate closer to city hospitals. Every opportunity to promote the project and the cause through exhibitions, painting demonstrations in public venues and at notable events will be taken.
Just as Jana was inspired by a fellow artist, we believe Permanent Impressions will also inspire other women embarking on journeys of their own while paying homage to some of Western Australia's contemporary women who are also in their various ways pioneers. For this reason, the portraits are not for sale. They will remain as one permanent collection for posterity.
About the artist
Permanent Impressions was born out of a need to recognise the achievements of 50 of Western Australia's most influential women. Without Jana Vodesil-Baruffi's vision and determination, many of the women included in this book would remain as unsung heroes. For an entire year she has been consumed with capturing these extraordinary characters on canvas.
In taking on a project of this importance, Jana herself has unwittingly blessed the community with an insight into her talent and generosity. A special acknowledgement must be made of the unwavering belief and support of her loving husband, Kevin Baruffi, and the hard work of Kevin's sister Jean Wibrow in pulling the project together.
Jana fled the stifling communist regime of the Czech Republic and adopted Perth as her new home in 1981. While Perth was more than accepting of her and her emerging talent, little did anyone imagine that one day she'd be the creator of one of WA's most remarkable art collections.
In 1987 she held her first exhibition of China paintings and ceramics, and two years later came a solo exhibition of pastel works at Gomboc Gallery. In 1988 her great affinity with the rawness of pastels saw her winning first-prize in the pastel category of both the City of Melville Art Exhibition and the Bicentennial Art Exhibition.
Her creativity flowed into interior design, and from 1989 to 2003 she ran 'Jana's Interiors', which specialised in decorative work and murals, trompe l'oeils, and stone and marble finishes. Working with the best decorators in Perth, she was featured in top interior magazines and on several occasions won the Craftsman's Award in the Homes of the Year competitions.
In 2003 she stepped off the ladders and opened a studio in Willetton to concentrate on her own painting, and went on to establish art classes, teaching in the mediums of oil, acrylics, pastels, charcoal and pencil. Her involvement in all these aspects of art practice at the time prompted her to produce her own works in a similar range of expression, a collection of which she exhibited in 2005 at the Atwell Gallery.
Jana pushed herself into new realms once again when she moved into Fantastic Realism, which blends images based on realism with others from the imagination. She exhibited in this genre at St John of God Hospital Subiaco in 2006 and two years later at Linton and Kay. In 2009 her journey took her all the way to Arezzo in Italy, with a solo exhibition of representational works relating to the culture and life of Italy. The following year she travelled to New York to showcase her Fantastic Realism paintings in the 'Down Under and Beyond' exhibition at the Agora Gallery.
Jana's love of humanity shines through with her portraiture. She has consistently entered the Archibald Prize and the Doug Moran Award, and in 2007 she won the people's choice award in the inaugural Black Swan Prize for Portraiture with a study of Peter Kennedy.
On several occasions Jana has been a finalist in the Black Swan Awards, including in 2012 when her portrait of artist and activist Rona Chadwick (one of the women included in Permanent Impressions was chosen).
One of the most remarkable aspects of Jana's talent is her ability to adapt to different mediums and techniques. Most recently, with Permanent Impressions, she has developed a swift process of capturing each woman in one single moment with the efficient application of paint with a palette knife. The sitting times were relatively brief and the speed at which she created each piece is a testimony to her talent and passion. Jana continues to teach art and run workshops from her studio and conduct art tours to Italy, the Czech Republic and New Zealand.
'She has indeed captured the inner beauty.'
Margaret Smith, gynaecologist, obstetrician, author.
The project was launched into the public domain on 6 May 2012 with an exhibition of the first 14 portraits at Metamorphosis Art Gallery in Willetton. It was opened by the Hon. Dr Mike Nahan, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, with many of the subjects in attendance.
The project team of Jana Vodesil-Baruffi, artist, Jean Wibrow, promotions, and Kevin Baruffi, project manager, were thrilled to see the project under way and to receive the accolades offered by the attendees.
Abigail has an interdisciplinary PhD from Murdoch University on eating disorders, post-structuralism and corporeality. In 2011 she was inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame. She currently lives and writes in the South of France.
Dr Abigail Bray was raised on a commune in Cornwall before leaving home, albeit an alternative one, and moving to Australia as a teenager. Clearly, this bohemian and culturally charged environment had a profound effect on her, and she experienced at first hand how insensitively teenage girls can be treated. As an outsider from a broken family, she struggled with her new Australian home. This was a feeling she experienced again as an adult when she too divorced and became a single mother. This only fuelled her ambition, however: she was determined not to be crushed.
Having produced a thought-provoking monograph in 2004 on the French feminist writer Helene Cixous titled Helene Cixous: Writing and Sexual Difference, in the following year Abigail co-authored a mainstream consciousness-raising book with Elizabeth Reid Boyd about her troubled experiences as a teenager. Titled Body Talk: A Power Guide for Girls, it is written as a guide for young women experiencing body image issues. At around the time Body Talk was published, Australian photographer Bill Henson found himself in the middle of a media frenzy when his photographs of a nude teenage girl were seized. This provoked Abigail to examine further this controversial topic, and in the process she discovered how fascistic pornography has become.
With leading Australian feminist Melinda Tankard, she is the co-editor and contributing author of the ground-breaking 2011 book Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, an exposé of the toxic nature of this business. Through a compilation of 40 essays by researchers, experts and activists, it dispels the illusion that porn is glamorous and highlights the fact that women in the industry are sexually objectified and dominated.
Big Porn Inc. draws many comparisons between pornography and prostitution, both industries exploiting women and sharing common features, specifically in the area of procuring and trafficking women with histories of sexual abuse, poverty and homelessness. As Abigail states, 'You only have to turn to the personal classifieds in the West Australian to find advertisements for women who have been trafficked to WA, mostly from Asia. Many of them use code words: "fresh lady" often means child or virgin and "loyal" can mean obedient or slave.'
Abigail's findings on child sexual abuse, moral panic and the child pornography industry have been presented at university-level courses in Australia, the UK and the US, and in leading international academic journals, the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the UK House of Lords and Parliament House in Perth and Sydney. Like many feminist activists, she has been stalked and vilified online and, despite being a published author with a PhD, often feels discriminated against for being a divorced mother who chose not to re-marry.
There's no doubt her work is challenging and at times shocking. Using the very mediums that fuel these subject matters, she exposes them and in the process hopefully reduces the exploitation of women and children.
"Abigail has dedicated her life to the issues that no-one ever wants to talk about. In fact, she's done the complete opposite and published widely on the topics of child sexual abuse, female body image and the porn industry."
Angela Ryder has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, a Certificate III in Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Work and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. In 2011 she was inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame.
Angela Ryder was born in Western Australia's South West and is one of nine children. Her father, who had arrived from England at the age of 12 in 1924, was a World War II veteran and farmer in Walpole and her mother is from the Noongar community of the Wiilmen region in Katanning. History has a way of repeating itself: like her mother, Angela is from the Stolen Generation and she has also reared a large family.
As a child Angela lived in Katanning and, despite the harsh conditions, which included hunger and living on handouts, she has fond memories. She never forgets the moment she was taken away from her family and placed in a mission.
In the early 1980s Angela held a government position in Katanning when she was transferred to Perth. She remembers the excitement she felt at living in the city and how grateful she was for the reprieve from the impoverished, and at times violent, conditions in Katanning. She attributes her 'escape from the country' to a special friend who helped her through the difficult times.
She is now the Senior Manager of Aboriginal Services at the not-for-profit community organisation Relationships Australia. It's a position well suited to Angela because, in providing support and assistance to the community, she has the opportunity also to connect with her heritage. She works with many individuals, organisations, schools and government agencies to raise cultural awareness and understanding. The services provided include referrals, youth programs, outreach, advocacy, community workshops and cultural information. Angela is skilled and experienced in a diverse range of areas including program management, event organisation, and finance and planning.
For the last decade she has had the voluntary role of Chairperson of the Langford Aboriginal Association. She gets great satisfaction from seeing a small Aboriginal-managed organisation grow, prosper and deliver programs and services to community members. On occasion everyone comes together to celebrate significant events such as NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week and the Apology to Stolen Generations.
The changes Angela would like to see for the Aboriginal community are, 'A strengthening of cultural pride; a place of belonging and recognition that we are worthy, that we have rights. Our culture and language will never disappear and will continue to be taught and shared through the generations.' She is not alone in this way of thinking and works closely with Relationships Australia colleague Jan Woodland, who like Angela is an incredible advocate for their community members. Together they have been sharing stories of their experiences with young people and raising cultural awareness, which they refer to as Cultural Fitness.
Although Angela has had to face formidable hardships, her compassion and empathy shine through, and she helps and enhances the lives of many.