Signed Under Protest - Katy Soljak

11 September - 18 October 2020

Katy gives us a glimpse into the life of her great grandmother, Miriam.

"..Since the day when she first heard 90 year old Miriam Bridelia Soljak speak of World Peace, perched on top of a soap box in Albert Park, Katy has been a huge fan of her grandmother. 

Miriam, born in Thames in 1879, was forced to register as an alien in her own country after she married Petar Soljak in 1908. She campaigned all her life to change the British nationality Status of Aliens Act, which seemed to only apply to women. New Zealand men were able to marry foreigners without losing their citizenship. As well as raising seven children, Miriam was a tireless activist, fighting against discrimination and unemployment as well as being fluent in Te Reo Maori. She avidly campaigned for diversity and contraception for women and was a pioneer of Family Planning.

This new series by Katy Soljak highlights snapshots of Miriam's long and challenging life and captures the essence of this brave woman's journey.

The paintings range from Miriam's stoic stance as a 19 year old teacher, sole charge a Taumarere native school in Northland, through her victorious march in the May Day protest at Hyde Park in 1937. Miriam had just successfully finished a speech on the plight of New Zealand women who had married foreigners to the British Commonwealth.

This series of mixed media acrylic paintings  has been referenced from family photos, press clippings and Miriams Journal. A documentray "Signed under Protest' is in the works.