Jacqueline Fahey

Jacqueline Fahey
Date of birth
Jacqueline Fahey is one of the few professional women artists of her generation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Born in Timaru in 1929, she started her art training at Canterbury College School of Art, now Ilam, in 1949, where she was taught by Russell Clark, Bill Sutton and Colin Lovell-Smith. Off campus, she spent time with a coterie of older women artists – Rita Angus, Doris Lusk and Juliet Peter – who encouraged Fahey to take her work seriously at a time when it was still deemed valid to question the significance of women artists. Fahey graduated with a Diploma of Fine Arts in 1951 and moved to Wellington that year where she met and married psychiatrist Fraser McDonald (1924–1991). The couple lived in Porirua in the mid-1950s and it was there Fahey created the ground-breaking series Suburban Neurosis, 1959 – some of the first feminist artworks made in this country.

Fahey’s contribution to feminist art both in New Zealand and internationally was recognised in the major exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to art in the 1997 New Year Honours and received an Arts Foundation Icon Award, the Foundation’s highest honour, in 2013.