Janina Green

1944 | Velbert, Germany
Janina Green — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Janina Green, Courtesy of M.33

Australian photographer.

Janina Green, the daughter of Ukrainians, was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany in 1944. Her family migrated to Gippsland, Victoria in 1949 and she spent her childhood in the small country town of Yallourn North. For twenty years she worked as a secondary school art and crafts teacher. She received a Diploma of Printmaking from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and pursued further studies in fine arts at Melbourne University. J. Green is also an influential photography teacher, lecturing at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University.
J. Green has been practising photography since the 1980s. Her series Reproduction (1986) and Vacuum (1993) have made significant contributions to feminist enquiry and photographic innovation. Her constructed, delicately hand-coloured silver gelatin prints place the female body centre stage, inviting the viewer into a critical dialogue about societal roles and gendered performance. Whether it is the bittersweet passing of time expressed in the portrait series of her daughters’ teenage friends, the enduring beauty of unfurling roses, or the loneliness of a country road at night, J. Green’s photographs express the emotional drama underlying everyday moments. By highlighting the complex psychological relationship of the home and the subtle differences between a mother or child’s vision, her photographs draw attention to voices and perspectives underrepresented in art history. Grounded in the beauty of the domestic, she prioritises the perspective of the woman as artist.

Her first exhibition Reproduction in 1986 at Artist Space Gallery (Melbourne), reprised in 1987 at the Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney), was pivotal for her career. The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra acquired three works, and the shows’ success allowed her to purchase a large format camera which became central to her practice. The National Gallery of Australia hold works from several exhibitions including Still Life (1988), Reproduction (1986), and Maid in Hong Kong (2009). In 1993 the exhibition Vacuum toured nationally. Dark Matters: Selected Photographs by Janina Green, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2016) and Janina Green in Conversation with the Collection, Castlemaine Art Museum, Victoria (2019-2021) confirm J. Green’s ongoing significance as a feminist photographer.

Emily Donehue

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

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