Today is 8 March International Women’s Day! A good day to remember and celebrate all the awesome women of this world, including women artists and artisans! But also a day when the world unfortunately still needs to raise awareness of issues such rape, sexual violence, women’s right to self-determination, economic empowerment and political representation, to name a few. What about Women and Arts?
Painter Frida Kahlo
image source: http://clas.berkeley.edu/research/art-hybrid-sources-frida-kahlo
Well, as one might suspect women have been largely underrepresented in art history, all forms combined. We all know Picasso or Monet, but how many female painters from that time do we know? If historically, arts as a form of livelihood was nothing for a woman, it hasn’t prevented some of them to give the world some of its masterpieces.
For example, did you know that the all-time classic Frankenstein was written by a woman, Mary Shelley? So not only has it been really tough for women to claim their space in the world of art, but they have also lacked the support (including financial) and the recognition more commonly given to men to become great artists. Gladly, times are changing and we are now getting to see more of this amazing and unique creativity!
Novelist, Mary Shelley
image source: Wikipedia
Alongside men, women have been part of the history of their national art crafts. In various areas of the world, women artisans were actually given significant social, ritual and economic roles. Carving, painting, knitting, designing, embroidering, they have perpetuated centuries old cultures and traditions from their villages and regions. But while many of these traditional art forms are still making their way from one generation to the next in the community, they are also increasingly under threat. Competition from cheap machine-made clothes, and a declining public interest (and value) given to traditional handcrafts, has led to communities looking for better earning opportunities, while others with fewer diversification possibilities are left to produce for under value.
Artisans in Peru
image source: Global Giving
So today, let’s celebrate women and the Art! Be the ones who have fought to make a space for themselves and other women in the artistic world, the ones who are increasingly struggling to perpetuate century old traditions, or the artist in each one of us. And let’s acknowledge all that we owe and have to learn from each other.
~Guest Post by Marion Lesur