Edwina Corlette (Class of 1981) is the owner and director of the Edwina Corlette Gallery in New Farm, Brisbane.
‘I think NEGS girls are resilient and earthy which is an awesome combination to have embedded in your psyche in a fast-paced world in 2020’.
Edwina grew up on a farm outside Warwick in Queensland. At the age of five she moved to Sydney after her father died. From there they moved to a cattle station in Far North Queensland and then eventually back to Warwick, where they stayed during Edwina’s six years as a boarder at NEGS.
Edwina’s mother was an NEGS Old Girl and Edwina attended NEGS from 1976 to 1981 after winning a scholarship. She started boarding in Forster house, which current NEGS students know as the Forster Music block, then Northern and Southern and finally as a Senior Prefect in Saumarez House.
Whilst at NEGS Edwina loved learning French and German. ‘Mrs. Winter was a wonderful language teacher and I loved learning from her, it was a gateway to learning about a much bigger world’.
As a boarder who was at NEGS before the internet, one of Edwina’s best memories was when her name was read out to say she had received mail.
After leaving NEGS Edwina studied a Bachelor of Arts at Sydney University and then joined Qantas in Sales and Marketing for 10 years, moved to Far North Queensland for a while before returning to Brisbane working as a florist part-time and in a commercial gallery part-time.
In 2008 Edwina opened her own commercial gallery ‘Edwina Corlette Gallery’ right at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis. However, that did not deter her and after almost 12 years the gallery moved into a new larger space in Brisbane’s main gallery precinct in New Farm where they now represent 30 of Australia’s well-known contemporary painters and sculptors, exhibiting regularly at national and international art fairs.
Located on Brunswick Street in Brisbane, the gallery offers a diverse, annual curatorial program of solo and group exhibitions, artist talks, collaborations and offsite projects including participation in art fairs, and is recognised as one of Brisbane’s leading contemporary art spaces showcasing emerging and mid-career artists.
Edwina’s inspiration comes from women who are, or have been, fully engaged in their chosen field.
‘Australian women like former National Gallery director Betty Churcher, former NEGS principal Dr Jan Milburn, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Ruth Bader Ginsberg who at 86 is Justice of the Supreme Court in the United States and Nancy Pelosi who at 79 is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. There are also the strong and proud Indigenous women who are forging paths for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians like Professor Marcia Langton, film-maker Rachel Perkins, artists like Sally Nangala Mulda and Marlene Rubuntja, tennis player Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Cathy Freeman and Shane Gould (a former NEGS girl)’.
Edwina’s gallery will be hosting the Brisbane Old Girls’ 125th anniversary event on the evening of Thursday, 12th March, 2020.