For over a decade, Deborah Wood has painted dancing older women to represent a demographic that faces many economic and social challenges.
Now the talented artist has lent her artistic talents to an International Women's Day initiative aimed at giving older women a voice.
Dr Wood pasted her latest dancing woman artwork up in Melbourne's Hosier Lane on February to launch the #OlderWomenCount campaign.
The three-week campaign is a joint initiative of Celebrate Ageing, the Older Women's Network NSW, Photos Punctuate My Life and Elder Rights Advocacy, and will culminate on International Women's Day (March 8).
It aims to draw attention to the fact older women are the fastest growing group in terms of homelessness and the lowest income earning family group. They are also the largest group of unpaid carers, more likely to live in poverty than other demographics and more likely to experience workplace discrimination.
Dr Wood, who was born in New Zealand in 1955, has been an exhibiting artist in Melbourne since the 1980s. She is also an art teacher and holds a PhD in Fine Art.
She pasted her first dancing woman outside the old newsagents building in the Victorian Central Highlands town of Avoca back in 2012.
She has already pasted several dancing ladies on Hosier Lane and was first invited to work with Celebrate Ageing when founder and director Dr Catherine Barrett saw one of her artworks in the lead-up to International Women's Day last year.
As a senior, Dr Wood said she was only too happy to contribute to the cause.
"I was pleased to do so as my dancers were intended to celebrate older women in a wry and joyous way in a space where they were mostly unrepresented," she said.
"I believe strongly that visual art often alters and counters stereotypes more directly than the written word; especially in such a public and visible space such as Hosier Lane."
Of the many serious problems facing older women, she feels "economic precariousness" is the most serious, as it leads directly to other problems such as homelessness and elder abuse.
"My dancers are, for me, an assertion of visibility, joy, and a bit of an 'up you' to a world that generally works to erase and or diminish older women's identity and power."
Dr Wood said while she is not confident her work will have a huge policy impact, she is happy to do her bit to share her message of empowerment.
"When I am on the street pasting up my ladies, the interactions I have with passers by are great fun and generative, sparking terrific conversations with a wide range of ages and genders.
"My fellow 'oldies' especially express joy in seeing figures more recognisably them."
For more information on the campaign click HERE.
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