The 5 Female Art Collectives You Need to Know

Brianna Capozzi. Image from dazeddigital.com
Brianna Capozzi. Image from dazeddigital.com

It is a well known fact that the art world has predominantly been governed by men, although it is fair to say that in recent years us girls have been working hard to try and change that. Power in numbers is key, and the way to get things done around here is to group together and take a stand; a prime example being the radical Guerrilla Girls, who started a girl-power revolution in the mid 80s, gaining attention to the cause via protest billboards and posters. In today’s society of iPhones and Tumblr, however, it is easier than ever to search for like-minded individuals and collaborate artistically to get a point across and to deliver the message to a wider audience. With hundreds of female-only art groups to choose from, here is a list of five sisterly groups from around the world that we feel are really doing it for themselves.

Emma Dajska. Image from theardorous.com
Emma Dajska. Image from theardorous.com

The Ardorous

Frustrated with the “boys-club” mentality of the art-world and the lack of outlets to promote her photography, Sleek favourite Petra Collins founded all-female collective “The Ardorous” in her final year of high school. Showcasing the work of over 40 artists from all over the world, Collins’ aim for this project is “to question the current ideology of femininity and recast women in positive/dominant roles”. Collins herself handpicks the talented bunch of girl-power professing artists, who aim to produce work by girls for girls in order to reclaim the female gaze and promote an unbiased view of the female gender, as well as reaffirming the often-overlooked talent of women artists. A broad mix of fashion, commercial and fine art photography can be found within those in the collective, involving themes focusing on anything from the internet to gender issues, and from relationships to self-appreciation.

Miza Caplin. Image from beautifulsavage.com
Miza Caplin. Image from beautifulsavage.com

Art Baby Gallery

Art Baby Gallery is described as a “digital exhibition space”, and aims to add an accessibility factor to the scary “feminist” word. Utilising the internet, the collective promotes work by underrepresented digitally focused artists in the form of monthly exhibitions on their site, and has recently progressed on to IRL exhibitions to also highlight the importance of physical art. With a strong stance on the importance and power of female artists, the groups founder Grace Miceli believes in strength in numbers, and opened this platform for women to encourage and support each other collectively. While the work varies in medium – ranging from screen grabs to photography to embroidery – the overall message carried by and for young girls is clear within all projects: “Your appearance can be important and empowering but there can be just as much significance placed on what you think or do or create”.

iQhiya Portrait. Image from artthrob.co.za
iQhiya Portrait. Image from artthrob.co.za

iQhiya

This recently formed art collective from South Africa is exclusive to black female artists. Feeling overlooked by the commercial galleries in their hometowns they hope to overthrow the idea of art as a man’s game. This group of hard-headed females are demanding the attention of the art-world by physically integrating themselves into it and are contesting the marginalisation by firmly asserting their presence. Naming their collective after the cloth African women use to cover their heads when carrying water vessels as “a signifier of both the strength and burden with the daily realities we face as young black women”, the group work across all disciplines; from video to printmaking, photography and sculpture. While all members work on their individual projects, they also come together for group performance pieces. Investigating themes of womanhood, strength and protest and highlighting the expectations of women within their community, iQhiya is protesting the system with a hope to pave the way for more gender equality in the art market.

Laurence Philomene. Image from i-d.vice.com
Laurence Philomene. Image from i-d.vice.com

The Coven

In an era where internet art and GIFS are at their prime, The Coven’s ambition is to expose the work of a range of multidisciplinary artists that, through the nature of their work, generate less online exposure than some of the other collectives listed here. Since 2012, founder and curator, Luna e los Santos has promoted those working within the realms of more traditional art practices like painting and sculpture via the collective’s online platform. The feminist collective, which also places an emphasis on artwork by non-binary artists, is certainly fulfilling it’s aim of “making their voices heard” with an impressive résumé of group shows spanning from the UK to Canada and on to the US.

Jeaneen Lund. Image from suitcasemag.com
Jeaneen Lund. Image from suitcasemag.com

World Wide Women

When founder Anouska Beckwith created World Wide Women, her intention was to stress the importance of celebrating female artists without promoting the negative idea that pro-women means anti-men. As the collectives name suggests, WWW (not to be confused with the Beyonce single) does not concentrate on artists from one part of the world; it actively involves females from around the globe to incorporate as much variety as possible. Although the women might hail from different backgrounds, the group comes together under the label of a sisterhood with the creator stating that it is “built on the shared vision of effecting positive change in the world through the creation and expression of art by joining forces to empower one another”. Through every medium of art imaginable, World Wide Women aims to promote the spirit and perspective of the woman in the art world today while also showcasing the diversity of art in general.

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