If I ask a room full of people if they can name five artists, their voices pipe up and soon a choir of ‘van Gogh!’ ‘Karel Appel!’ ‘Rembrandt!’ is what meets my ears. Can you name five female artists? That one is a little bit harder. If you are lucky, someone will name Frida Kahlo. An amazing Mexican painter indeed, but not the only one who deserves the spotlight. For all the men to be named, there are female equals that we do not mention in our history books and our presentations. Artists who deserve that attention just as much as their male counterparts.
In modern day, this is not as much of a problem anymore though, right? Let’s face some facts.
- “A recent data survey of the permanent collections of 18 prominent art museums in the U.S. found that out of over 10,000 artists, 87% are male, and 85% are white. (Public Library of Science)”
- On average, only 30% of artists represented by commercial galleriesin the U.S. are women. In Australia, it’s about 40%; in China, 25%; in Hong Kong; 22%; and in Germany, less than 20%.
- There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96.1% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists. (Bocart et al., Glass Ceilings in the Art Market)
(Facts from National Museum of Women in the Arts)
In the Netherlands, only 13% of the collection in our museums was made by womxn, according to research from Astrid Kerchman and Pauline Salet conducted in 2019.
We need more attention for the female perspective. More inspiration. Because if she can’t see it, she can’t be it. So here are four amazing womxn and one cool project you should definitely check creating fabulous art out there. Get inspired!
This London based artist and writer will not stand for any sexism any second longer. With her amazing drawings and bops sung on her Instagram page such as ‘stop raising him he is not your son’ she inspires all womxn from around the world to dump their boyfriends and live their best lives. At its core, her work is about appreciating yourself and putting your energy into your own growth.
The 24-year-old Chantal is a freelance creator, art & museum educator and illustrator. Her work involves feminism and LGBTQ themes, next to being absolutely adorable and made with gorgeous colour combinations. On her page, she shares her work and talks about social media impact, backlash on activist work and how to deal with all of this. Especially if you are a creator yourself, Chantal’s posts are great motivation material to have in your feed.
Nina goes by Bananina in her artist life. A lot of her work is nature inspired, and she communicates about the environment and loving your surroundings through it, sometimes without words. Witchy, botanical elements and beautiful textures are some of her key elements. If you’re looking for some creative flow or a beautiful gift via Etsy, Nina is your girl.
Lilian draws incredibly detailed scenes, where she tries to show the outside world how womxn can be perceived sometimes. One of my personal faves is ‘The woman as a kitchen table’, where, as you can guess from the title, a woman is being used as a kitchen table. She keeps it real on her Instagram, by writing beautiful pieces about her youth and experiences as well as sharing her burn out.
The fifth work on this list is not a page you can follow. It is my own documentary series. Men and womxn are still not equal in our society, and in the arts this is unfortunately no different. With this feminist documentary series I am hoping to start a trend of giving more attention to the amazing female artists out there, just as am doing with this article. In my docu series, we follow three female creators, one per episode. Each one is centered around their personal struggles, identity and work. If you are interested, the second episode is going live on feminist platform Het Lief Dagboek tonight, and it is subtitled! Better representation is key. Let’s make it happen.
Text: Leora Kannekens