The art world, as is the case with anything in this life of patriarchy, is dominated by men. If we begin to dissect further by introducing race and all other forms of structural oppression, we will find very little diversity. But this post isn’t about shedding light on the whiteness, maleness and all round boring-ness of the art industry, but rather to highlight the diversity that exists; the women that are forces to be reckoned with! Women artists that you should come to know, love and learn from.
I’m starting off with 5 so that over time, I can introduce more and more women artists on this platform. Till now, the women listed have not graced my blog and i hope that i get to write more extensively about each and every one of them throughout the progress of this blog – maybe even have an interview with at least 1! I do hope you find the time to check each of their work and follow up on the great things that they do, but without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Toyin Ojih Odutola
I came across Ojih Odutola’s work via Instagram as she popped up on my feed as a suggestion. This was the one time I appreciated Instagram’s ridiculous algorithm. Ojih Odutola, born (1985) in Nigeria and I believe is residing in America, is a visual artist who creates pieces via a number of mediums. I have yet to come into face-to-face contact with her work, so i’ve spent the last 6 months admiring her via social media. Her pieces have been shown across numerous states in America and i’m hoping that she will, one day, bring her art to London.
She currently has an exhibition running at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art based in Georgia, so for anyone living there, do check out! Otherwsie, just check out her website (click here) and her other social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram.
When the witnesses are gone (2013)
First Night at Boarding School (2017)
The Paradox of Education (2013)
Note: All images were taken from Jack Shainman Gallery’s website –click here for more!
2. Lina Iris Viktor
I was introduced to Viktor’s work by the Director of Gallery of African Art and i have followed her works ever since. According to her site, Viktor is a conceptual artist, performance artist and (incredible) painter! She was raised in London and currently lives and works between here and New York.
I missed out on the opportunity to view her Black Exodus exhibition that was up at the Amar Gallery, so here’s to hoping she brings her excellence to London again! She currently is a part of a group exhibition – with some other brilliant artists – at Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, so if you’re around there definitely drop by! Otherwise, check her social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram and most importantly her fantastic website!
Image taken from Artsy.net
Constellations I by Lina Iris Viktor
Yaa Asantewaa by Lina Iris Viktor
Note: Images were taken from Viktor’s website.
3. Tony Gum
South African artist, Tony Gum, is a young woman everyone should be keeping an eye on – even Vogue voted her the coolest girl in Cape Town and she truly is! I am reminded of how much one can do at any age as she’s a 22-year-old gaining much-deserved recognition in the art industry. Her work tell stories, speak truths and captivates an audience. I await the day i get to interact with her work face-to-face, preferably in South Africa! For now, i’ll have to deal with adoring her via her social media accounts (and you should do the same!): Instagram
Note: Image not my own. Taken from Google.
4. Mary Sibande
A woman after my own heart! As a budding sociologist, Sibande speaks to me as she uses her artwork to explore themes of race, class, gender within the South African context. She uses her art to celebrate the work of domestic workers (commonly known as maids) that are too often demeaned, undervalued – as is the case with women’s labour in general – and go unrecognised. I came across one of her pieces at the 1:54 Art Fair in London but hadn’t registered her name till I was introduced to her all over again by another fellow art lover. Born and currently residing in South African, Sibande continues to look at the intersections of these structural oppressions through her sculptures and I look forward to what else she has in store for us all. Find her on Instagram
Note: Image not my own – taken from Google.
5. Ndidi Emefiele
I’ve got to end the list with a great Nigerian painter – as per patriotism, I guess! With a Bachelors degree in painting, Masters in Fine Art and a prestigious award prize recognition of her extraordinary set of skills, Emefiele is a mixed artist who addresses issues pertaining to being a woman, most especially as a Nigerian woman. She is popularly known for her exhibition “The Rainbow Series’ where traits she values in black women are celebrated. Be sure to check out her Instagram page and keep up with whatever else Emefiele has in the works.
Toilet Selfie (2015) by Ndidi Emefiele – Courtesy of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Note: Image not my own – taken from Google.
This isn’t the end of the road, as I have many more extraordinary women artists for you all to keep a look out for/get to know! For now, I hope you carve out the time to check out these brilliant women’s work – follow them on their social media and maybe, check them out in an exhibition if you can!