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Suzanne Bellamy Biography

Suzanne BellamyBorn in Sydney, educated in History at the University of Sydney 1966-73, Suzanne Bellamy worked on the left newspaper The Old Mole, was part of the first group of Women’s Liberation in Sydney 1969, worked on the first WL newspaper MeJane, taught Womens Studies and Politics at Macquarie University 1974-80 during the great feminist years and was National Convenor of the First Women and Labour Conference 1978. She worked on all three Australian Women’s Commissions, the Coming Out show, the Awful Truth show, the Child Welfare Campaigns with Bessie Guthrie, and many other projects and campaigns.

She left academe in 1979 to work fulltime as a studio artist and independent scholar/writer, began exhibiting artwork from 1981, and now run Mongarlowe Studio Workshops in southern NSW, exhibits internationally and works in the Visual Essay form, (art and text fusions), is a published Stein and Woolf scholar as well as essayist, also works in visual music and abstraction, lesbian modernism, word jazz, ecology and water. Her first large solo USA show was at the Northampton Center for the Arts in Massachusetts in May/June 2003, and she was Artist in Residence at Smith College during the International Virginia Woolf Conference in 2003. In London in June 2004 she was a Featured Presenter at the International Virginia Woolf Conference at the University of London in Bloomsbury, with a jazz visual text improvization called “Am I Blue?”, a scat word and visual painting interpretation of three Woolf experimental short fictions about war with large canvas paintings as set.

In 1996 she created the art performance/ archive installation The Lost Culture of Women’s Liberation 1969-74, the Pre-Dynastic Phase, an archaeological, activist women’s history project, which has now been presented many times both in Australia and in the USA in museum or slide/performance format, including at NWSA St Louis, and at international conferences and gatherings, the International Women In Archaeology Conference in 1999, Feminist Hullaballoo Santa Fe 2007, OLOC Conference Los Angeles 2008.working

1996 First Exhibition of Installation, THE LOST CULTURE OF WOMEN’S LIBERATION, THE PRE-DYNASTIC PHASE 1969-1974, at the Sixth International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia. This installation, created in 1995 as a Travelling Exhibition, combined art practice and history with archaeological methodology, in a futurist comic format, addressing issues of historical interpretation and memory. It draws upon my own experience as a feminist activist in the early 1970’s, historian, archivist, sculptor and comic storyteller. In its museum format, it includes models and artifacts, photography, documents and constructed displays, set in a time frame 5oo years in the future, as an archaeological dig of an urban site in Sydney, Australia. I created the character of Professor Dame Hildegarde Gumbutas, an Oxford Professor, loosely based upon Marija Gimbutas, who performs the launch of the dig/installation. The show was subsequently converted into a travelling slide show, for international events. An official event of the Congress. April.

In 1997 she was invited to present and exhibit at the International Virginia Woolf Conference in New Hampshire, USA after publishing an essay in Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings for NYU Press, (eds. Barrett and Cramer), marking the start of a long project on VW and the Visual Essay, exhibited in stages at various universities and conferences in USA and UK, and now planned as a publication.

In January 2001, she became co-founder of the comic/serious experiment in community education called The University of Mongarlowe, with a charter of ‘No Fees, No Faculty, No Degrees’, a anarcho-surrealist/feminist community education experiment in Mongarlowe NSW conducting Pageants and Colloquiums, and hosting visiting scholars and artists.

She worked as a setpainter and graphic artist from 1990-94 at the Michigan Womens Music Festival, and has an ongoing creative association with the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club in Oakland California. She has been visiting Guest Artist at SUNY Oswego since 1990, held a solo show there and lectures in April 2005 on Visual Narratives, with a 2010 show in process, called Inside Outer Space .

The solo exhibition, “Cosmos”, was held in Australia in March 2007, further developing the ongoing visioning project called “The Transit of Patriarchy.” In 2009 the exhibition “Under New Mexico Skies” combined Bellamy’s mixed-media work with three Santa Fe artists at Fyregallery in Braidwood, Australia.

All the ideas which exploded out of early Women’s Liberation in her student days continue to grow and fuse and morph into life and work, direct action and radical form, ecology and sustainability, creating post-patriarchal consciousness in the midst of difficult changing exciting times, holding comic joy and the creative as sacred energies.

Recent Work and Selected CV

Suzanne Bellamy exhibits in Australia and internationally in art,text/visual research and performance practice. She is currently doing a PhD in Australian Studies at the University of Sydney. In 2000 she won the Edna Ryan Award for “Creative Feminism.”

Exhibition, “Under New Mexico Skies”. Fyregallery, Braidwood, Australia.
Conference paper, ‘NewWorld Archives’, Fordham Univ/Lincoln Centre New York, International Virginia Woolf Conference.
Visiting Artist, SUNY Oswego.

“Unsettling The Land”, canvas and collaboration text with Susan Hawthorne, Drought Exhibition, Federation Square BMW Edge Melbourne, curated by Lella Cariddi, as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival Aug 2008.   
Publication “Unsettling The Land”, Bellamy and Hawthorne, Spinifex                       Press, Melbourne 2008.
Performance, “The Lost Culture of Women’s Liberation 1969-1974. The Pre-Dynastic Phase”, OLOC Conference, Los Angeles USA.

Performance and Canvas, “Community of Selves” Melbourne Australia. Collaboration with aerialist and poet Susan Hawthorne.
Performance, Libretto and Set Canvas, Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past”, International Virginia Woolf Conference, Miami Univ Ohio USA. June.
Two Fires Festival, Braidwood, “Women, Writing and Ideas”. Convenor.
Solo Exhibition “COSMOS”, Studio Altenburg, March.

Exhibition and talk, Spinifex Press 15th Anniversary Festival, North Melbourne Town Hall, March.
Travelling print show exhibition and conference paper, IVWS conference Birmingham Univ, UK.

Publication “Seven Chariots Of War” in Cristina Biaggi. The Rule of Mars, publ. Knowledge Ideas and Trends, Boston USA.
Solo exhibition “Still Life Journeys”, Fyre Gallery Braidwood Australia.
Print exhibition and Conf presentation “The Visual Essay”, IVWS Conference, Lewis and Clark College, Portland Oregon USA
April-June, Guest Artist, State University of New York Oswego NY.