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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Portrait of Anne Summers, 1974

Carol Jerrems

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 17.4 cm x 25.1 cm, image: 16.2 cm x 24.0 cm)

Anne Summers AO (b. 1945), writer and feminist, became involved in women’s rights while studying at the University of Adelaide in the 1960s. In 1969 she became one of five women involved in founding the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia. She then moved to Sydney and in 1973 was part of a cooperative that established Australia’s first refuge for victims of domestic violence. While studying for a doctorate at the University of Sydney, Summers commenced work on what became her first book, Damned Whores and God’s Police (1975), a landmark text in Australian feminism. Having worked as a journalist for several years, she was appointed head of the Commonwealth Government’s Office for the Status of Women in 1983; and later worked as an adviser to Prime Minister Paul Keating. In New York from 1986 to 1992, Summers was editor-in-chief of Ms magazine; and later edited the Good Weekend. Her autobiography, Ducks on the pond, was published in 1999; and her book The lost mother: a story of art and love (2010) was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. In 2013 she published The Misogyny Factor, an analysis of the status of women in contemporary Australia.

These portraits by Carol Jerrems were taken in January 1974, at which time Summers was working intensely on her first book. Summers has said the portraits capture her anxiety about this project as well as the steeliness that enabled her to complete it. One of the images appeared in A Book About Australian Women (1974), which profiled women then at the forefront of activism and the arts.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

Accession number: 2012.167

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Carol Jerrems (age 25 in 1974)

Anne Summers AO (age 29 in 1974)

Subject professions

Activism

Media and communications

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.