Barbara Hanrahan

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Barbara Janice Hanrahan (1939-1991) was an Australian artist, printmaker and writer whose work mostly revolved around the roles of and relationships between women.

Early life[edit]

Barbara Hanrahan Lane, Mile End

Barbara Hanrahan was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1939. After her father's death at the age of 26 from Tuberculosis in 1940, when Hanrahan was just a year old, Hanrahan lived with her mother, a commercial artist, grandmother and great-aunt, who had Downs' Syndrome, in Adelaide's inner-western suburb of Thebarton - an area that was to have significance for Hanrahan in her life and works.

Hanrahan attended Thebarton Primary School and Thebarton Technical School. Between 1957 and 1960, she studied towards a diploma in art teaching from Adelaide Teachers' College, while also taking classes at the South Australian School of Arts. In 1960, Hanrahan began printmaking, and worked with Udo Sellbach. In 1961, Hanrahan won the Cornell Prize for painting. In 1962, she served as president of the South Australian Graphic Art Society. In 1963, at the age of 24, she left Adelaide to study at the Royal College of Art in London. She lived mostly in England until the early 1980s, with her partner sculptor Jo Steele and lectured for a time at the Falmouth in Cornwall and Portsmouth College of Art. During this time she returned periodically to Adelaide to teach at the South Australian School of Art and to organise her one-woman exhibitions, and she eventually returned there to live permanently. Her first exhibition was at the Contemporary Art Society Gallery in Adelaide in December 1964.[1]

Hanrahan always combined writing with visual arts. She kept a diary in her late teenage years and then again in London to make sense of a strange city.[2] She began writing her first book, The Scent of Eucalyptus, a semi-autobiographical consideration of her childhood, after the death of her grandmother in 1968.[3] The book was published in 1973. Her last work of fiction was Michael and Me and the Sun, which was published in 1992 after her death from cancer. Her edited diaries were published in 1998, revealing less than favourable comments about many of her contemporaries. A biography by Annette Marion Stewart was published in the same year.[4]

Hanrahan exhibited her artwork internationally, including in London, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Scotland, the United States of America and Canada.[5] Her artwork is collected in numerous galleries in Australia including the Australian National Gallery.

The Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship for South Australian writers was established in Hanrahan's memory by her partner Jo Steele. A street in Thebarton is named after her, and in 1997 a building at the University of South Australia's City West campus was named to honour her memory.

The Scent of Eucalyptus depicts Hanrahan's childhood in the 1940s and 1950s in the inner-western Adelaide suburb of Thebarton.

Books[edit]

  • The Scent of Eucalyptus (1973)
  • Sea-Green (1974)
  • The Albatross Muff (1977)
  • Where the Queens All Strayed (1978)
  • The Peach Groves (1980)
  • The Frangipani Gardens (1980)
  • Dove (1982)
  • Kewpie Doll (1984)
  • Annie Magdalene (1985)
  • Dream People (1987)
  • A Chelsea Girl (1987)
  • Flawless Jade (1989)
  • Iris in her Garden (1991)
  • Michael and Me and the Sun (1992)
  • Good Night Mr Moon (1992)
  • The Diaries of Barbara Hanrahan, edited by Elaine Lindsay (1998)

References[edit]

  1. ^ History Trust of South Australia 'Barbara Hanrahan' retrieved 5 October 2009
  2. ^ http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/extra/hht_20110220_hanrahan84.mp3
  3. ^ Hanrahan, Barbara SA Memory Website, State Library of South Australia [1] Retrieved 21-04-2014
  4. ^ University of Queensland Press
  5. ^ Obituaries: Hanrahan, Barbara Janice (1939-1991) [2] Retrieved 21-04-2014

External links[edit]