Society has always been hard on artists and women. So, women artists have been dealt an impossible hand. Even now, in the 21st century, we witness hardships women artists face every day, from how their work is perceived to the fact that sometimes, they don’t even have time to create because a woman’s work implies much, much more than the artistic practice, or, in fact, any professional endeavor. It’a work of life.
Since its beginnings, Discovery Art Fair has been an inclusive event — we believe in equal chances. To emphasize the importance of stripping the underlying gender implications of the term “artist,” we want to shine the light on women who create art, who have always been among us, and to say that we appreciate, honor, validate, and accept your experiences and your work.
To support these authors in their own right, free from objectification or judgment other than that for the art, we’ve selected ten women artists to discover at this edition of DAF Frankfurt.
Discover the Talent: Angelina Seibert
A very central spot of the fair hall this year belongs to artist Angelina Seibert as a part of a “Discover the Talent” program. Her exhibit includes large-scale linoleum prints, video art, objects, a large-scale installation, and even a performance. Attracting the most attention, the installation “When I was young my mother washed me, now I wash everything else” consists of six around four-meter tall columns made out of towels of different sizes. “They represent the work,” she said when I asked her about the piece, telling me that, as a mother of three, she has very little time to engage in her practice. And there’s always so much to do around the household. It’s the work no one sees. And she made sure it was visible — truly monumental.
Drawing inspiration from her own experiences, Seibert bears the universal truth of what it means to be an artist and a mother.
Amazing Painters: Gabriele Willberg, Carola Dewor and Karina Laru-Nau
Three distinct visual languages of Gabriele Willberg, Carola Dewor, and Karina Laru-Nau all instill a clearly feminine visual perspective into their work. Willberg’s forest landscapes are tender and ethereal, Dewor’s interiors evoke traditional women’s spaces, while Laru-Nau’s combinations of cryptic language and female figures deal with matters of the female condition, emotions, and challenges.
Women Photographers to Follow: Elaine Jeffrey and Katerina Belkina
Photographer Elaine Jeffery, a Scotswoman based in Hamburf, presented part of her series “Schicksal” (Fate in German). This experimental photo series is about the life journeys of people who made Germany their home, coming from different parts of the world. Having followed her husband to Hamburg, Jeffery shares the same experience of being a foreigner in a new country and, as a mother and artist, experienced many challenges until she found her place in society three decades later.
Katerina Belkina is another immigrant and an established Berlin-based photographer known for her examinations of the female position in society and her own roles as a woman, mother, and creator.
Women Artists From Kenya: Leezie Kiambi and Nadia Wamunyu
Represented by the East African Art Endeavor Gallery, Kenyan artists Leeizie Kiambi and Nadia Wamunyu bring different perspectives to the fair. Kiambi leans on the visual heritage of Afro-futurism and references the importance of African masks in her work, leaning on Picasso’s fascination with these artifacts.
Wamunyu’s work comes from a more intimate space: she examines the experiences of a black woman in society, dissecting and then objecting to the societal expectations of beauty, poise, and good behavior. Deaf from birth, Wamunyu paints women with their heads covered, symbolically marking their forcefully taken away sense of self and denoting her own experience simultaneously.
Focus on the Creation: Ina Basaran and Eliane Douglas
Both fascinated by texture in different contexts, Ina Basaran and Eliane Douglas presented works sharing their uniquely female voices with the audience. Ina Basaran’s small-scale pieces feature dainty fragments, moments from life, or fleeting visions rendered in mixed-media collages on paper. A lover of glamorous, pretty things, Eliane Douglas, presented large-scale canvases with printed female figures embellished with textile fringes, glitter and golden texture to emphasize the beauty of emotions we experience in life.
With another edition of the Discovery Art Fair coming to an end, we can all, as an audience, art lovers, experts, writers, collectors, and supporters, endeavor to follow more women artists and support them on their path to work and live as they must — through the act of creation they themselves choose.