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.

To honour 100 years of the global celebration of International Women's Day South London Women Artists (SLWA) are holding their 5th exhibition at Dulwich Library from Sunday 27 February to Saturday 26 March 2011. This year the theme of the exhibition is Women and Books, drawing on the invaluable contributions that women have made to books and libraries over the years and the inspiration they receive from them.
SLWA has already been associated with books through it’s progamme of talks also held at Dulwich Library. In 2009 Althea Greenan of the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmith’s College explained how the organisation functions as an alternative public space to view and experience women’s art. Rebecca Fortnum, Camberwell College of Art, talked about her interviews with 20 internationally recognized women artists from her book “Contemporary British Women Artists: In their own words”. More recently Dr Lara Perry who is co-editing a book on feminism and art curating presented her research “What place has feminism in contemporary practice?” to the group.
The Women and Books exhibition will look at books written by women, for women, about women or which inspire women and joins International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March when thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. Throughout the month long exhibition a number of local schools will attend SLWA education events organized for them by artist members. There will also be free tours of the exhibition led by a SLWA member and a chance to meet some of the participating artists on Wednesdays 2 and 16 March at 3.30pm.
Over the past two years South London Women Artists have staged numerous shows including a hugely successful exhibition at Bankside Gallery in 2010. Dulwich Library is fast becoming an established venue to view and buy original SLWA artworks and the group is delighted that books will also be the theme of the show. The works will ‘bookend’ the library bookshelves, thus connecting the thoughtful experiences of library browsing and art contemplation.The exhibition will take place at Dulwich Library from 27 February to 26 March during normal opening hours and entrance is free. There will be a private view on Thursday 3 March from 8 to 10pm.
Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane, SE22 8NB
Open: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri 9am to 8pm, Tues10am to 8pm, Sat 9am to 5pm, Sun 12pm to 4pm.
Private view Thursday 3 March, 8 to 10pm.
Free exhibition tours Wednesday 2 & 16 March at 3.30pm.
For more information and images contact:Kim Thornton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to
Give some time to yourself!
PPD is a series of talks specifically for SLWAs.  Aiming to enhance the personal and professional development and artistic practice of contemporary women artists, especially those who are balancing career and family. We have eight great speakers, one talk a month, on a range of topics.
Held at Dulwich Library from 6-9pm they are informal, fun and informative. Read this review of the first event, here.  Keep the first Monday evening of the month free for YOU. Topics include time management, women in visual culture, the creative process, effective networking, selling work, exhibition submissions, and more.