The Sea and She

March 8, 2018, International Women's Day. We felt it was the right day and night to launch a new body of ocean. A series shot in the waters of South Australia over the past three years, The Sea and She. It was also the right time to put my time in the water towards something positive. Please see The Sea and She - an Exploration of Feminine Strength, an essay from Puteri Haneen Martin below.

The ocean is such an integral part of my life, a gift that keeps giving, our life-source. For me it is life, for others around the world, it can be something more sinister. We decided to partner with the International Women's Development Agency for The Sea and She. Whilst I'm bobbing about at sea-level, IWDA is on the ground, creating real change for women around the world. We wanted to raise funds so they can continue their work, with particular respect to climate change and its impact on women.

Fiji and the Pacific more generally, are some of the most at risk countries in the world to natural disasters. According to the World Risk Index, Fiji is the 14th most exposed country in the world to natural hazards. Rural women play an essential role in supporting communities when affected by crises. They understand their family’s priorities, community needs, local realities, and how this connects to national development agendas.

IWDA partner femLINKpacific run a program called Women’s Weather Watch, which connects women in rural and remote communities with the information they need to prepare for and respond to natural disasters when they strike. As well as emergency communications work, femLINKpacific also supports women to take on leadership roles in long-term post-disaster recovery in Fiji and the wider Pacific.

Together, between door takings and print sales, we raised $1163 for the International Women's Development Agency. To donate yourself, please click here.

The launch was a wonderful success, hosted by The Mill Adelaide, our friend Nat Rogers was on hand to capture some memorable moments, please see the gallery below. We had the pleasure of the company of both Sitara, and Cookie Baker serenading us from the stage, whilst the show was officially opened by unstoppable Eloise Fuss from ABC TV's The Mix. A couple of hundred guests joined us throughout the evening, wined by our friends from the Fleurieu, Old Jarvie and quenched by the new kids on the booze block, Sparkke Change. With thanks to all who helped make the night possible, particularly all those who joined me in the ocean, your courage is inspiring.

Exhibition Design - Dan Cadwallader

Exhibition Install - Che Chorley, Myf Cadwallader, Ross McNaughtan, Stella Richards

Exhibition Prints - Atkins Photo Lab

Producer - Myf Cadwallader

Exhibition Photographer - Nat Rogers

Models - Tess Fowler, Myfanwy Cadwallader, Juniper Chorley-Cadwallader, Alyssa Spilsbury, Lucy Jensen, Haneen Martin, Georgia Matthews, Lara Merrington, Stella Richards, Enya Sullivan, Demelza Cadwallader, Fruzsi Kenez, Candice Bawden, Holly Ball, Rosie Kruckemeyer, Hannah Lally, Delana Luna, Lochlin Maybury.

The Sea and She – an Exploration of Feminine Strength

On this International Women’s Day, the 8th of March 2018, Che Chorley’s most recent series raises the status of women in portraiture beyond the pretty, benign art object and shows us as a force equal to that of mother nature. In The Sea and She, we move past the tokenistic existence as nude bodies to be consumed for the male gaze and present only as subjects embracing their power, all individually impressive people in our own right. Chorley captures us subjects stripped bare in our natural states, in natural elements, to be appreciated for who we are beyond our appearance alone and how we interact with the ocean – no two relationships are the same.

It is logical then that Chorley will donate all the profits of this exhibition to the International Women’s Development Agency, which in turn will support women in Fiji and the Pacific who are some of the most at risk from the impacts of climate-change-affected natural disasters. Women in these areas are the backbone of their communities during a crisis and deserve all the support they can possibly receive. By drawing parallels between everyday women in South Australian waters reclaiming their power, surrendering to the natural environment and these incredible women in marginalised countries who have no option but to surrender to their natural environments every day and still support their communities, Chorley is not only raising awareness of these issues, but raising the profile of the Adelaide women who make up our own communities and allow them to thrive.

Where the ocean forms our borders, Chorley brings us into the water with him and invites us to blur those lines. In his words “The ocean gives life and takes it away without discrimination. It is our environment; occasionally terrifying, always mesmerising.” The ocean creates an area of simultaneous familiarity and sense of unknown for most of us, which is what makes it such a unique setting. The ocean cannot be controlled, and we are at her mercy, often blending the shapes of our bodies with her water. Less Sports Illustrated and more bodies with nature, not much is more empowering than being in front of Chorley’s lens.

For most of us women, particularly from marginalised communities, this speaks strongly to our relationship with the outside world. We often cannot control how we are received, how we can impact our environments and how we can change it for the better, but we can sure as hell try.

Puteri Haneen Martin, March, 2018.

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