Charmaine Lyons has embarked on her most adventurous photographic endeavour to date, inviting women to join her as she creates Women United. Lyons has set the goal of photographing 200 women with a vision to create an extensive body of work in which to represent the solidarity, commonality, strength, and determination of ordinary, extraordinary women living in the 21st Century through rural and regional Australia. To accompany the images Lyons is asking each woman to write a very brief description of themselves outlining who they are, what they do, and what it means for them to be a woman.

It was in witnessing the global collective of women rise in response to the passing of the Trump administrations Mexico City Policy that the Women United project was conceived. After viewing the photograph of American President Donald Trump, surrounded by his all male entourage, signing the policy that would prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can not do with their own bodies the project came into being. It was birthed by my outrage at this backward barbaric thinking and my disbelief, that the fight for women’s rights and human rights was once again headed in a backwards direction.

“The Women’s March that followed propelled me to stand in a show of support by creating the Women United project, my own photographic march,” said Lyons. “The courage and unity of those women compelled me to put out the call to stand united as a show of strength and support for the thousands of women who were already standing in unity against the ongoing sabotage of women’s rights. Women United is an ever-evolving work in progress and I move through it seeing and understanding that it is much more than a photographic project. It is a platform for the women involved to share the incredible work they do in their communities and beyond, to highlight issues that concern them and to make real change. It is their project, and their stage.”

Meeting each of the women, Lyons has discovered the remarkable work being done by each individual. Be it the stay at home mothers raising future generations of school teachers, the nurse saving lives, the artists filling senses, the farmer struggling, or the bereavement doula supporting the grieving. These unassuming women all demonstrate strength and determination, moving graciously, unassumingly through their lives doing what they love and need to do.

On completion, the Women United project opens at the Gympie Regional Gallery. With the potential of the exhibition touring nationally, the opportunities are endless. Initial discussions about publishing a Women United book are underway. “I’m the sole photographer/creator of this project – completely self-manage and directed,” said Lyons. “The travelling, photographing, editing and collating is all a one-women show.”

Lyons is now seeking a diverse range of female subjects, women from all nationalities, all fields, and all walks of live to partake in the project Women United. All portraits for the project will be captured in the sitter’s own home/office portraying the sitter’s setting/profession. If you are interested, please contact Charmaine Lyons on Facebook.

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