More than 200 works of art were submitted for the International Women's Day Art Prize, of which 103 were chosen for exhibition at See Street Gallery in the Northern Sydney Institute. Photo: Irene Chork
More than 200 works of art were submitted for the International Women's Day Art Prize, of which 103 were chosen for exhibition at See Street Gallery in the Northern Sydney Institute. Photo: Irene Chork

Reflection on selfless acts on International Women’s Day

Last Saturday was International Women’s Day. Macquarie University student Irene Chork, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts-Psychology with a Diploma of Education, visited the International Women’s Day Art Prize and Exhibition at See Street Gallery and reflected on the theme “Selfless Acts”.

“All over the world, people came together to mark this International Women’s Day. Since it was officially recognised back in 1975, International Women’s Day has been a day to celebrate and appreciate the achievements of women everywhere, regardless of age and culture.

This was apparent at the International Women’s Day Art Prize and Exhibition at See Street Gallery, where the theme was “Selfless Acts”. The prize is funded by the City of Ryde, and delivered in partnership with Fine Arts Inc. Meadowbank and the Northern Sydney Institute, part of TAFE NSW.

From the sacrifices of single mums to the achievements of prominent figures such as Mother Teresa and Malala Yousafzai, professional artists and community members of the City of Ryde explored the theme affecting women in the world today. If we think about our everyday lives – be it our personal, work or study lives – the women in them are selflessly, tirelessly helping others.

We have come a long way since 1975. Women have more rights, more choices, more opportunities and more freedoms. But it can still be tough for a woman.

Bound by the Shoe of Sisterhood by Peta Gischus, 2014, acrylic and oil on canvas, 30cm x 150.5cm
Bound by the Shoe of Sisterhood by Peta Gischus, 2014, acrylic and oil on canvas, 30cm x 150.5cm

Women suffer a doubtful elation. When we succeed at work, we worry about neglecting our family. When we have children, we worry about our place at work. Our successes shouldn’t be celebrated with a liberal dose of guilt from some other part of our multifaceted lives.

According to the media, the “modern woman” has it all. If she doesn’t already have it all, she can get it all: the job, the strong, supportive man behind her, children, a great social life. And she always looks perfect, even when she doesn’t. As one woman said, “Females have to have everything and be perfect.”

Yet how many of us actually achieve that, outside of movies and TV shows? Not very realistic, is it? It doesn’t mean we can’t strive to have it. But we pounce too quickly on the flaws we see in other women – the women who don’t measure up to the “modern woman” – when we are all part of a Ya-Ya Sisterhood, blood oath optional.

Let’s face it – we are “Bound by the Shoe of Sisterhood”.

So that’s what International Women’s Day means to me. Celebrate the women around you and think about the legacy we leave for the women to come.”


The International Women’s Day Art Exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 4pm, at See Street Gallery at the Northern Sydney Institute in Meadowbank until Saturday 22 March. For the list of Art Prize winners, visit the City of Ryde website.