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Jacqueline Fahey


Jacqueline Fahey

Jacqueline Fahey ONZM’s Biography

Last Updated:
28/05/2024, 10:33 am
Arts Foundation Icon 2013
“If in the arts the belief that what is right, normal and the proper way of seeing things is male, upper class and Pākeha, all other ways of seeing things are as difficult to comprehend as a new language.”

Jacqueline Fahey ONZM was one of the first New Zealand women artists to paint from a woman's perspective. Highly unconventional in the early 1950s, she was already dramatically revealing the crippling isolation felt by many women in the suburban family home. Educated at Teschemakers Catholic boarding school in outside of Oamaru, in the country. Fahey began studying art at the age of 16. She was taught by painter, sculptor and illustrator Russell Clark at the Canterbury College School of Art, Christchurch, New Zealand, and is now the only survivor of a group of renowned Canterbury women artists which included Rita Angus and Evelyn Page.

Jacqueline had her first exhibition in Wellington in 1952. She exhibited at the Architectural Centre in Wellington from 1962-66 with the Modernists. They then moved to Auckland. After having three children in quick succession, she 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. With Rita Angus, she organised a painting exhibition at the Centre Gallery, Wellington in 1964, which showcased female and male artists in equal numbers and was almost certainly the first deliberately "gender balanced" show in New Zealand. From there, she went on to exhibit in numerous solo and group shows throughout her career. In 1985 she was selected to represent New Zealand at the Sydney Perspecta.

Fahey is also known for her writing, 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 her second novel The Fenians Assassin. She was awarded an Officer of the Order (ONZM) for services to art in the New Year Honours List 1997. Jacqueline was included in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution Exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in LA in 2008