... Fahey insisted the theatricality of domestic life was a valid subject for art. She ignored the growing interest in abstraction and the "international way". "How drear," she says. "What has it got to do with us?" She persisted with narrative art even as it was "sneered at hugely" in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. She ripped the gentility out of so-called and much-denigrated "domestic art". "Saying that this [the home] is an important arena was a defensive act for women. Reality is not ‘somewhere else'. Big decisions aren't just made when you go off to the office or the boardroom. They are often made in the kitchen." Sally Blundell, New Zealand Listener interview, August 2012

Educated at the exclusive Teschemakers Catholic boarding school, Jacqueline Fahey began studying art at sixteen, at the Canterbury College School of Art, Christchurch, New Zealand, where she was taught by illustrator Russell Clark. She is now the only survivor of a group of renowned Canterbury women artists that included Rita Angus and Evelyn Page.

She started out as a painter in the late 1950s but had three children in quick succession and soon found that a young family and the demands of her husband's career, put a temporary halt to her painting career.  However, by the late 1960s she was able to take up painting again and has set a vigorous pace since.

Jacqueline Fahey was one of the first New Zealand women artists to paint from a woman's perspective. Through her choices of subject, materials and methods she expresses feminist concerns. Highly unconventional in the late 1950s, for example, she was already dramatically revealing the crippling isolation of women in the suburban family home. In later years, she has moved on to urban subject s and into the overtly political.

In 1964, with Rita Angus, she organised a painting exhibition at the Centre Gallery, Wellington, which showcased female and male artists in equal numbers and was almost certainly the first deliberately "gender balanced" show in New Zealand.

Jacqueline has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout her career. In 1985 she was selected to represent New Zealand at the Sydney Perspecta.

Jacqueline Fahey is also a writer publishing the novel Cutting Loose (David Ling, 1998) about the 1987 coup in Fiji, best-selling memoir Something for the Birds (AUP, 2006) and Before I Forget (AUP, 2012).  She has also completed she has just finished her second novel The Fenians Assassin.

Jacqueline was named as an Officer of the Order (ONZM) for services to art in the New Year Honours List 1997.   In 2013 Jacqueline was honoured with an Arts Foundation Icon Award.  The Icon Awards are limited to a living circle of 20 stellar New Zealand artists and are the Arts Foundation's highest honour.

Words

2012
Sally Blundell writes on Jacqueline Fahey's 'Before I Forget', her second volume of memoir for the New Zealand Listener
2009
Extract from 'Conversations with Five New Zealand Women' by Deborah Shepherd

News

02.08.13

Video

2011
Jacqueline Fahey discusses how you tell the narrative in a story.
1929
born Timaru, New Zealand
1946-51
Dip Fine Arts, Canterbury University
1950s
Painting career begins
1964
  Centre Gallery exhibition with Rita Angus
1985
Represented New Zealand at the Sydney Perspecta
late 1980s
Lecturer, Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University
1997
Became an Officer of the Order (ONZM) for services to art
1998
 Cutting Loose  - novel - published by David Ling
2006
Something for the Birds - memoir - published by AUP
2007
Exhibited in WACK: Art and the Feminist Revolution -  LA, Washington, New York, and Vancouver
2012
Before I Forget - memoir - published by AUP
2013
Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award recipient

Awards