Artifacts from a Victoria University library collection related to Melbourne’s early political and social activism are included in a new National Gallery of Victoria exhibition tracing the career of artist Emily Floyd.
Floyd used materials from VU’s Ruth and Maurie Crow Collection – containing about 2000 books and 700 pamphlets – for her NGV introspective Emily Floyd: The Dawn.
A printmaker, sculptor and public artist best known for her large-scale outdoor works, Floyd grew up in Melbourne, participating in some of the children’s workshops conducted by social, political, and environmental activist, Ruth Crow.
Together with her husband Maurie, Ruth was involved in a wide range of social causes, particularly in Melbourne’s north, for more than 50 years, from World War II onwards.
VU’s Ruth and Maurie Crow Collection provides an important basis for understanding early political and social activism in Melbourne. From Ruth’s work with women and children in Brunswick during WWII and Maurie’s involvement with the Clerk’s Union to their public activism in neighbourhood planning, the pair have greatly influenced generations of urban campaigners.
Floyd includes in her exhibition collection pieces such as black-and-white photos of children and women of Melbourne’s west; items from the Crows’ trip to Russia; and historic pamphlets from Singapore, Malaya, India, Egypt and Poland. The collection also inspired the artist to create a series of large-scale screen prints, Solve your personal problems socially, 2014, for this exhibition.
To source materials from the collection, Floyd was guided by VU College of Arts Librarian Mark Armstrong-Roper, who will present on the topic Living Libraries and the preservation of knowledge on Saturday 31 January 2015 at 11am at Floyd’s exhibition.
The exhibition Emily Floyd: The Dawn is showing at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, until 1 March 2015.
Both the exhibition and talk are free.
The Ruth and Maurie Crow Collection is located at the University’s Footscray Park Campus Library.
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Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Producer
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Phone: (03) 9919 5487