The All-female art selection promotes gender equality in the arts
Artist Lydia Larson in her studio
During April we've put together a selection to highlight the careers and achievements of four female international visual artists. Lydia Larson (US), Jenny Nijenhuis (SA), Izabela Leska (PL) and Anna Tihanyi (HU), were selected to showcase their works in painting, photography, sculpture and installation.
According to 2017 reports, 30% of artists represented by commercial galleries are women, and across arts professions women make almost $20,000 less per year than men. Gender disparity in the art world is still an issue, although some figures do indicate an improvement in comparison to previous years.
Eyal Zucker: "It's the first selection that we've put together. There wasn't any direct intention to have an all-female lineup, it just naturally formed this way."
The selection not only turned out to be all-female, it also includes artists that are addressing through their work the topic of femininity and gender issues in their own surrounding society. Artist Anna Tihanyi is currently developing her new project "A Woman's Chamber" that addresses the female psyche through the staging of 10 women characters, all dealing with common feminine situations and the courage to overcome them.
Sculpture by artist Jenny Nijenhuis
Jenny Nijenhuis is the artist behind the public installation "SA's Dirty Laundry" that aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of rape in South Africa by hanging 3,600 pairs of used panties on washing lines across the streets of Johannesburg.
Artist Lydia Larson says: "It's a breath of fresh air that Artqol have selected artists that just happen to be women and that it's turning into a moment to talk about the gender gap. As I think about gender in the arts, and what it means to be a woman and an artist in the modern world, I think of Virginia Woolf. She notes, "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." I believe this applies to the art world as well. Historically, women painters were anomalies, even rebels--mostly trained by their fathers or other male artists within the family who were willing. While these practices have changed and women artists can go to the university and become known on one level or another, the facts remain that in this field, like others, women earn less and are under represented."
Photograph by artist Anna Tihanyi
Though 51% of MFA students are women, they later struggle to gain proportional gallery representation. The internet has opened opportunities for artists to reach an audience and build their own presence independently, something that could contribute to the strengthening of gender equality among artists, and as the percentage of influential positions in the art world held by women is gradually increasing, there is a sense that the trend is going in the right direction.