Edwina Corlette (Class of 1981) is the owner and director of the Edwina Corlette, a commercial art gallery in New Farm, Brisbane.
On describing how six years at NEGS has informed her journey in life, Edwina says:
‘NEGS girls are pretty down to earth and resilient. A lot of us came from country backgrounds, hard working families who valued a broad education for girls.’
Edwina grew up on a farm outside Warwick in Queensland. At the age of five her father died and she and her mother moved to Sydney where Edwina started school at Ascham. From there they moved to a cattle station in north Queensland and then eventually back to Warwick, where they remained during Edwina’s six years as a boarder at NEGS.
She attended NEGS from 1976 to 1981after winning a scholarship, (her mother was an NEGS Old Girl). She started boarding in Forster House, which current NEGS students know as the Forster Music block, then Northern and Southern and finally as 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’.
After leaving NEGS, Edwina completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Sydney University and afterwards lived and worked in Munich and Tokyo, before returning to Australia to join Qantas in their commercial development division.
In 2008 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, Edwina opened her own commercial art space Edwina Corlette Gallery and which today represents a stable of well-known contemporary Australian artists. 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 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 and Cathy Freeman.