If you’re reading this on 08 March then a very happy International Women’s Day to you. This year is special because it’s the centenary and it must be said that there have been some major advances on the equality front (though let’s not mention the car insurance issue!), but there’s still a long way to go for women artists.
If you need convincing then take a trip to your local art gallery or museum and count up the number of works by women artists in their permanent collections, then tell me it ain’t so. If you want to stray into the minefield of whether it’s a good idea to show work based on gender then do don your flak jacket and read this and the comments that follow.
But, in Wales, for the next few weeks, you can access the work that often slips under the radar, much of it organised in collaboration with the Women’s Arts Association and, if you follow the link you can access the full listings of events and exhibitions that they’ve had a hand in.
I was delighted to be asked to help select the works for Wunderland at tactileBosch, and then a bit daunted as I wondered if we’d have enough work to fill the huge space and with the quality of work we wanted. Just goes to show how wrong you can be.
I do have reservations about exhibitions based solely on gender, especially when there is not curatorial rationale to link works together, but this one works, and I take no credit for it as it was Tiff Oben and the tB team who actually pulled it together and found sympathetic settings for very disparate and sometimes challenging works. You can read Tiff’s really eloquent description of the Wunderland here.
Similarly at the Artemisia exhibition at St. David’s Hall (why isn’t it on their web site, why?), I realised that sometimes it’s worth creating a critical mass of talent to underline the importance of the contribution that women artists make to cultural life in Wales.
And if you can’t celebrate this contribution during IWD’s centennial year then when can you?
If you’re involved in celebrating with an event or exhibition please post your events below. I’ll be trying to get to as much as I can over the next few weeks and do a review of personal highlights after I’ve recovered.
In the meantime I’ll be opening Female Frame III at the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 10 March between 6-8pm and hope to meet some of you there.
We’ve come a long way in the past hundred years, but there’s still a way to go. As a friend said to me today, “I’ve got bruises on my head from bumping it against the glass ceiling.”