Talk: Ponch Hawkes

29 April 2022
Ponch Hawkes,
[500 Strong] (detail), 2019-20. Courtesy the artist.

Ponch Hawkes, 500 Strong (detail), 2019-20. Courtesy the artist.


29 April 2022

Friday, 4:30-6pm (AEST)




Geelong Gallery [i]
55 Little Malop St, Geelong
Mon – Sun, 10am – 5pm


Wheelchair access


Member: $13, non-member: $16

Join Geelong Gallery Director and CEO, Jason Smith, in conversation with renowned photographer, Ponch Hawkes, discussing 500 Strong a 2018 project calling on women from across the State over the age of 50 from all backgrounds.

The world is awash with images of naked youthfulness, mainly young women. A naked older woman is an extremely rare subject and hardly ever portrayed with any sense of desirability. In 2018 photographer Ponch Hawkes embarked on a project to photograph 500 Victorian women over the age of 50 from all backgrounds. 432 women volunteered to be photographed in the nude to celebrate the diversity and reality of older women’s bodies.

500 Strong presents older women acting as though they have every right to be seen, ripping their clothes off, stepping out of public invisibility. Participants were encouraged to consider their anonymity and, while some women chose to show their faces, many came prepared with a personalised face covering.

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  • Ponch Hawkes (AU)

    Born 1946, Melbourne, Australia
    Lives and works Melbourne, Australia

    Ponch Hawkes is a senior, critically acclaimed Australian artist. Now in her 70’s, Ponch’s career has been driven by the need to make an impact and drive change – politically, emotionally and artistically. The 500 STONG project brings together all these elements. Creating an exhibition that changes the lives of the courageous participants, educating younger women about body shaming and the joys of ageing sends ‘ripples of change’ throughout the community. This project is a culmination of 45 years of artistic exploration, that others have mostly not been interested in – older women’s bodies and health.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March