International Women’s Day not only celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but also marks a call to action for gender equality.
As an Art Gallery, we not only want to celebrate female artists, but to also take note of those who are increasing the visibility of women around the world, which brings us swiftly onto our first exhibition…
1) 28 Millimetres: Women by JR, 2008
"Women play an essential role in society but, travelling in conflict zones, JR realized that they are often the primary victims of war, crime, rape and political or religious fanaticism. JR’s intention in the Women Are Heroes project was to underline women’s pivotal role in society and to highlight their dignity by photographing them in their daily lives and pasting their photographs in places that would make sense – in their villages, in cities nearby, or on the other side of the world."
The project began in the Rio de Janeiro favelas and the results were outstanding, the favela finally had a face: it had eyes, it was watching, and it was ready for the rest of the world to notice. The female gaze that JR had created was not only a brilliant piece of art, but an empowering message from the women in the favela and in 2008, it came to London.
28 Millimetres: Women featured across two galleries and the surrounding streets, with both galleries featuring more intimate works of smaller portraits taken of women in the favelas.
On the streets, JR pasted large-scale images, each with a freephone number underneath which, if called, would allow you to hear each woman’s story. It was a first, in London, to take the idea of an audio guide out of the museum and into the street; a nod at JR’s determination to get the whole city to know who these women were and their struggle.
2) Antimatter Series: A Boundless Vision by Miaz Brothers, 2015
In 2015, the Miaz Brothers presented an all-female body of work for their exhibition, Antimatter Series: A Boundless Vision. The artworks led the viewers on a journey through multiple variations of perceiving the same subject, stretching processes of identification to achieve something not fixed and limited but boundless and personal.
The philosophical implications of beauty in modern society are explored unintentionally by viewers, as the Miaz Brothers’ female portraits force their audience to filter their awareness of what they automatically see and explore the imagery further.
The duo’s exhibitions are always inspirational, but this particular one was able to step away from the previously male-orientated canvases and focus on females.
In the world of street art, Lucy McLauchlan has made a huge impact, the artist has been featured in a variety of press, including Vogue, Juxtapoz and Widewalls. The Birmingham native has used her talent to create art that speaks about current affairs, political views, historical influences and more.
This particular exhibition, Together, highlighted the wastefulness of consumerism, with an installation created using VHS cassette tapes, plastic bottles, a bin lid, lampshades and a car tire. Lucy’s signature graphics and monochromatic style were still prominent throughout the exhibition; however, her delicate work was on this occasion coupled with pieces of urban detritus.
With countryside being invaded by the industrial industry, the exhibition touched home with a lot of viewers. It is an issue that is still very much relevant…
…however, instead of skewing to a new topic, we want to say: Happy International Women’s Day, be proud of who you are.