Celebrating Women Artists and Women in Art
Women have been enormously important in art’s history. Think about the most famous paintings in history, what comes to mind?
Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’, Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Spring’, all the thousands of Nativities/Mary with baby Jesus, Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’, Picasso’s ‘Dora Maar’s Portrait’ and ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ , Andy Warhol’s ‘Marylin’, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring’, Goya’s ‘La Maya Desnuda’…
Equally important to the role of muses in art is women’s contribution to art as artists themselves, a role that has been widely overshadowed by male painters and has been historically discouraged by social rules and costumes.
With the exception of popular names as Frieda Khalo and a bunch more there are way less women artists as widely recognized as say a ‘Leonardo’ a ‘Picasso’ or a ‘Van Gogh’.
But as our society evolves to a more gender fair one, we can expect that to drastically change, and the process has already started. So we can foresee the future classics to be much more fairly spread between genders.
Among the ‘big shots’ we can already look up to trailblazing artists like now household names like Bridget Riley, Yayoi Kusama, Tracey Emin…
But the art market is now widely populated by female artists receiving widespread acclaim. Perhaps in no coincidence that some of our best and more celebrated artists from our roster are female too.
Having been dubbed “the female Banksy” by the press for years (a definition that she doesn’t seem to enjoy too much) the London’s incognito street artist recently expressed her dissatisfaction with such label in an interview:
“We’re in a man’s world, I feel, everything is judged against what a man would do,” said the graffiti artist, as she unveiled her newest work in London.
“Women are always on the back foot.”
In fact, her work fully deserves to be enjoyed without constantly drawing comparisons, especially to a supposed male counterpart.
As an artist Bambi has always been preoccupied with social themes and more recently she has taken a firm position in support of women’s rights and the current climate crisis.
Ever the philantrophist, she collaborated with Amnesty International creating a T-shirt design for International Women’s Day and the 2020 Togetherness Project to raise funds and awareness.
She also stood up in support of the Terence Higgins Trust (an association at the forefront of the fight against HIV and striving to improve sexual health in the United Kingdom). Proceeds from each sale of her limited edition prints (titled ‘There’s no place like home‘) are going to support the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg stands in for Dorothy, while Hollywood legend and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is the Tin Man. While a hurricane destroys Manhattan’s Trump Tower in the background, they happily skip along their Yellow Brick Road to a magical land devoid of global warming. They jointly carry Thunberg’s signature protest sign, Skolstrejk for Klimatet (school strike for climate change). This is the latest in a series of works by the female street artist BAMBI protesting against the global apathy surrounding climate change.
“I encourage everyone to help protect the planet by following their own yellow brick road to a home that’s safe from climate change,” says Bambi.
When she debuted about 4 years ago with her striking pointillism-meets-pop-art paintings , Van Donna was an unknown London based woman who had recently found relief in art from a life that was taking all of her space away. In her own words:
“Being a woman is not always easy. Being a mother, a wife and having a busy full-on career can be a daunting task. For most of my life as a young woman, I had been constantly shuffling around trying make ends meet: being there for my family and being successful at work.
But it all came at a price, a very high one. One day I awakened to the realization that I had no time at all for myself: by constantly playing different roles, I had lost touch with the person I am. There was no space left for me to explore my feelings, needs, ideas and to express myself within the constraints of a hectic life. So I started to reorganize my priorities and to cut more space for myself, trying to get in touch with that beautiful person I thought I’d lost.”
“Art is where I found my own space. When I paint I am in a different place, somewhere I call “the zone”. It is a very special one where time doesn’t exist and I am free to manifest my emotions and thoughts in harmony.
My paintings are an expression of the world within me and of the things I love. It is a world full of colours, hope and beauty.”
A few years later many more of her paintings went into incredible collections and were added to the permanent collection of the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg and the Freud Museum in London.
Van Donna’s works have been exhibited in sold-out shows in NYC, Dubai and Riyadh in the show “Riyadh Underground” created by members of the Saudi Royal Family.
An active philanthropist, the artist was selected to donate an original painting sold at the Terrence Higgins Trust annual charitable auction, seeing her debut at Christies’s in London successfully selling an original paintings for several thousands of pounds – barely a year into her career.
She also made the news after the Daily Mail reported that Prince Harry added her diptych ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’ to his own collection, presumably as a love gift for his then bride-to-be Meghan Markle.
Van Donna has so far enjoyed massive press coverage by People, Architectural Digest, Vogue, Grazia, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Insider, Refinery 29, Harper’s Bazaar, Express, Hello!, Mirror, Glamour, Metro, Conde Nast Traveler, Artnet, Yahoo!, IBT, OK!, 9 Honey, Pop Sugar, MSN, 93.7FM, Female First, Whimn, Kiis 101.1, Daily Star, Brides, Bustle and more.
British artit Hollie Wood is an abstract painter with an elegant style: simple, confidently classic in the approach but up to date and vibrant at the same time.
Influenced by the classic masters of the 20th century she’s not afraid to look deliberately retro. In her own words:
“I think innovation nowadays, when everything in art has been said and done and almost every boundary have been broken, can well be reinstating what’s commonly known or accepted as ‘good painting’. Art is a very subjective and divisive matter so you can’t expect universal consensus, but you can try your best to at least live up to your own standards and hope that others will come to love what you do and stand for”.
While the choice of colours in a lot of art from the 20th century (with notable exceptions, think Marc Chagall or Joan Miro’) can sometimes come across as a bit dull by today’s standards or look ‘old’ especially in the context of modern interiors, Hollie’s palette is vibrant, eye-pleasing and soothing .
Inga Krymskaya is a contemporary visual artist. Born in Ufa, capital of the Bashkiria region of Russia, Inga left her native land during the Perestroika and moved to the Netherlands in 1993. Having lived in Amsterdam for the past 23 years, she is now London-based. With a grandfather of Tatar origin and a Jewish grandmother, she is fascinated by issues around identity and spirituality – something that was suppressed during Soviet times.
Inga’s work has been exhibited at various art fairs and galleries across the world (Kyoto, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Berliner Liste (Germany), SCOPE (New York, Basel), and the Antwerp EXPO.