Liz Charsley Jory Cathedrale GroveLiz, had you studied the Group of Seven at school? If so, did you have a favourite?
Yes, it was sort of compulsory art history in Canada. I always liked Tom Thomson the best when I was younger, as his work was the most distinctive. These days I am more partial to JEH MacDonald's work, if I had to make a choice, as it shows a greater artistic maturity  and more devotion to overall composition.

Had you yourself seen many original works by the Group of Seven before this exhibition?
I visited the McMichael Collection when I was quite young with my family, but hadn't seen the works up close since then. I've seen them reproduced many times in books.
Are you particularly familiar with any of the landscapes depicted?

I lived in Ontario until I was 12, then in British Columbia until I was 24, so I'm very familiar with all of the landscapes depicted, apart from the icebergs of the Arctic.
Do you feel there is a strong north/south divide in the works?

No, as the artists employed the same use of bold colour across all their landscapes. The abstract works of Lawren Harris are distinctively set apart from the others, but only because the rest of them were more realistic and accessible. His other landscapes had the same feel as the rest of the group.

On Friday 7 October SLWA hosted a film night at Bespoke Space in East Dulwich. Filmmakers got together to show their work and articulate their practice to an audience of peers resulting in some lively discussions.   The films shown were diverse in subject matter but linked surprisingly well together with shared themes of repetitive tasks, memory/nostalgia and identity, frequently revealing political and social dimensions.


For two nights only on Fridays 8 and 15 July the work of South London Women Artists (SLWA) will be on show at Bespoke Space, Blackwater Court in East Dulwich. In an homage to the Royal Academy’s Summer Show SLWA are staging their own exhibition albeit on a more bijou scale. The SLWA Summer Show will be hung in traditional salon style to infuse the space with life and energy – an energy that will continue during the week as dance and yoga classes take place surrounded by the work.

JUNE 21 2011, 6.40 FOR 7.00PM


SLWA’s won 4 out of the 6 prizes at the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Exhibition.
43 SLWA artists participated in Dulwich Open House
Individual SLWAs win prizes and are selected for top shows.

1st Prize - Rescue by Edori Fertig


Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Bicentenary Year Exhibition got off to a great start for members of the South London Women Artists. Not only did 15 of its members have work selected for the exhibition, but four of them won prizes!

For those not familiar with SLWA, it is an affiliation of just over 100 women artists who between them produce a great variety of contemporary art. Art strong enough to win First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize and the Deborah Roslund Purchase Prize. What a fabulous endorsement of the SLWA!

First Prize was won by Edori Fertig with her evocative pencil on paper drawing of ‘Voyage’. Edori entered three drawings, ‘expecting to get one token piece in and when I found out that I got the three in I was overjoyed. When, later, I read that I had won, I had to read and reread the message many times for it to sink in. It’s so nice to be acknowledged. I have been feeling like I need a push lately to get on with a body of work and this will surely help.’

2nd Prize - Urchins by Julia McKenzie

Second Prize was for an intriguing drawing by Julia McKenzie: ‘Urchin’. Julia, a long-time Friend of the Gallery, describes it as a ‘jewel-like resource in our community. The permanent collection as well as the special exhibitions have always been a real inspiration  to me.

So, this year, with a bit of encouragement, I decided to submit work. I was delighted when I found out that my drawing, ‘Urchin,’ had won the Second Prize. It feels especially rewarding to be given a prize in the area in which I live and in a gallery that I love.’ Julia is a comparative newcomer to SLWA. ‘As a new member, it has made me very aware that I am part of something really remarkable and probably unstoppable!’

3rd Prize - Man in a White Suit by Joan Byrne

Winner of the Third Prize is Yours Truly: Joan Byrne (author of this article). Like the other prize winners, I was truly surprised and immensely grateful for the endorsement. I submitted two pieces of work, hoping that one would please the judges.  I felt like a winner when both were selected. Then, the following day when I was informed that my photograph — ‘Man in a White Suit — had won Third Prize, I was practically on the ceiling.

I almost didn’t enter the exhibition as I found it rather daunting but a seed was planted when some months ago South London Women Artists announced the upcoming exhibition… and, so, I gave it a go. And what a thrill to share (22 April-8 May) gallery space with the likes of Rembrandt, Poussin, Gainsborough…

Le Deluge by Lesley O Mara Purchase - The Purchase Prize

Another delighted SLWA member is Lesley O’Mara.  She won The Purchase Prize, selected by Deborah Roslund, for her painting ‘Le Deluge’.  ‘It was so thrilling to get a prize; it’s quite rare to get recognition as an artist,’ she said, ‘and it really does spur you on! We artists are very lucky to be nurtured by such a prestigious gallery. It  is  a great resource to have on our doorstep. It  may be no coincidence that four out of six prize winners were members of South London Women Artists.’ Deborah describes ‘Le Deluge’ as ‘an attempt to fuse abstract and figurative impulses and hopefully give a feel of the lusciousness of paint.’ A wonderfully executed ‘attempt’.

The competition was tough. Three hundred and eighty eight works were submitted of which 133 were selected, among them work by more SLWA members: Ilinca Cantacuzino, Christine Landreth, Kim Thornton, Julie de Greff, Jennifer Merrell, Julia Burnett, Lucy Bainbridge, Susan Wood, Liz Dalton, Eithne Twomey and Fiona Williams.

Friends Private View - Joan receiving her prize. Photo by Ingrid Beazley

All in all, as Lesley commented, the work of all these artists demonstrates the strength, beauty and resonance of SLWA.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of Dulwich Picture Gallery and, in particular, the behind-the-scenes work of co-organisers Barbara Richardson and Jane Reid to whom great thanks are due. Thanks, too, to the judges and sponsors.

The Private View was delightful. The sun appeared to shine both inside and outside the Gallery. I don’t think I was alone in thinking when I saw the art in the Friends’ Exhibition that we live in a vibrant community. I was also humbled by the standard.  It’s very high.  So, to be a prize winner, well, it’s just wonderful.