Vic Supreme Court, Federal Court justices immortalised in art for International Women's Day

The Victorian Bar added the portraits of Susan Kenny AM and Kate McMillan to its collection

Vic Supreme Court, Federal Court justices immortalised in art for International Women's Day

Two female justices for the Victorian Supreme Court and the Federal Court were immortalised in art through portraits that were unveiled on International Women’s Day this year.

The Victorian Bar held a ceremony in Melbourne on Wednesday that saw the portraits of Susan Kenny AM and Kate McMillan join the collection at the Peter O'Callaghan QC Gallery. Victorian Bar president Sam Hay KC described Kenny and McMillan as “two pivotal figures in our history”.

“It’s fitting that these two significant jurists are being honoured in such a way on International Women’s Day”, Hay said.

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Kenny was painted by Marie Mansfield, who received the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Wollemi Project AIR in 2021. She was also the Bundanon Trust, Artist in Residence in 2020.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia also bestowed the Tony Fini Foundation Artists Prize, Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, on Mansfield in 2017.

Meanwhile, McMillan was painted by Jenny Watson, whose work has been showcased in Japan’s Yokohama and Nagoya City Art Museums, the Ulmer Museum in Germany, and at the Vienna Academy of Arts and Craft. She has also been featured in galleries across Australia, with her first exhibition in 1973 having been held at Melbourne’s Chapman Powell Street Gallery.

Melbourne Art Foundation board chair Peter Jopling AM KC conducted the official unveiling of the portraits before guests like Justice John Dixon, Justice Lisa Nichols, judicial registrar Leonie Englefield, Melbourne University deputy-vice chancellor Professor Pip Nicholson, and Australian Bar Association vice president Róisín Annesley KC, who is also a former president of the Victorian Bar. The full guest list comprised about 100 dignitaries and leaders in Victoria’s legal scene.

The Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery contains over 90 portraits that the Victorian Bar said represents “much of the history of the Victorian Bar”.

“We are very proud of the portraits in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery. They represent not only a significant collection of works by leading Australian portrait artists and painters, but also form a collection that herald some the major contributors to the overall fabric of the Victorian Bar”, Hay said.

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