It’s Women’s History Month! What better way to celebrate this month by talking about supreme women artists that should be on your radar – some I may have written about, and some you may already know. Before I continue just a PSA: this month, and every day of your life, continue to lift up women’s voices especially marginalised women that sit at the intersections of identities that are structurally used to exclude and privilege.
Born 1977 in London and currently residing there, Yiadom-Boakye is a painter and writer of Ghanaian descent. She has extensive art school training and has been exhibiting works since her (assumed) first group exhibition show at Brixton Art Gallery in 2001. Her work is recognised as a contribution ” . . . to the renaissance in painting the Black figure” (Tate) as her subjects are often painted in warm yet simultaneously dark colours. Yiadom-Boakye makes sure her characters cannot be fixed to a particular place and time.
Idahor, born 1984, lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. With a Fine art and Sculpture educational qualifications under her belt, Idahor has gone on to use her works to direct conversations about identity, specifically being an African woman and what they encompasses. Taken from her personal blog, Idahor writes: Her frequent use of female faces including her own is a direct confrontation to the issues surrounding women in Nigeria, their daily struggle with culture and tradition in the modern world. Read my last post on her last exhibition in London here
REWA resides in Johannesburg, South Africa but considers London and Lagos as other parts of home. Unlike the other two artists mentioned, REWA holds a non-art degree as she studied Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London (UCL). REWA is a painter alongside and her latest body of work, titled INU NWUNYE (Bride Price) showcases the woman’s passage in the rite of marriage in Igbo tradition. Her website gives a spectacular detail on what is expected from inyo-uno to inu-mmanya.
Emefiele, born (1987) and based in Abuja, Nigeria, uses her mix of collage and painting to draw on cultural and heavily gendered (woman) references; she portrays her women subjects as strong and vibrant, making them the focus of attention and shifts men into the peripheral due their absence. Her latest exhibition in London, titled Pets, Parties, and a Cuddle challenged the male gaze and position her characters in different scenes, with some nudity, to spotlight women’s freedom to do as they please with their bodies.
On a separate note, Black Girl Meetup will be attending the House of African Art exhibition in two weeks time! For more information and to register, click here.