By Tiny Diapana
Photos by Zach Aldave
THROUGHOUT the course of history, there have been countless depictions of women in art. At times sensual, at times coy, and at times alluring, the idea of the female has held many an artist captive. Take a look at the works of Johannes Vermeer, Sandro Botticelli, and Victor Edades to name a few. Women have always been an eternal source of inspiration for the creative spirit. Instigating so much curiosity and fascination, they are the most recognized personification of the muse — the guiding genius.
But oftentimes in humanity’s grand pursuit of art and beauty, it is easy to forget that women are not only muses. They are also makers. They are creators. They are dreamers.
Yes, it is true that today’s more proactive society recognizes and identifies with women. Yet despite the heightened social awareness in the local and international community, it is indubitable that women’s works of art are continually being denigrated in an industry that still remains dominated by men. Though women artists do enjoy a much more improved visibility in the current art scene, a huge disparity between the recognition of male and female artists still remains.
According to statistics taken from the Artnews article of Maura Reilly “Taking The Measure Of Sexism: Facts, Figures, And Fixes,” from the year 2007 to 2014, female artists only had about 20 to 30 percent participation in the total number of solo exhibitions in various American Institutions, whereas male artists always had the bigger slice at 70 to 80 percent.
The same case holds true for the local art scene as well. The number of female artists in Cebu to complete a solo exhibition is low compared to the number of male artists who have held numerous solo exhibits or group exhibits.
To counter this lack of female representation in the local art scene in Cebu, Streetkonect and 856 G Gallery banded together last Oct 22. to bring forth “HER/A,” an all-female exhibit aimed at empowering the female artist and reigniting the conversation of women in art.
“HER/A” is the second installment of an ongoing series of all-female art exhibits organized by Streetkonect, the first installment being “The Little Secrets: Venus,” a pop-art exhibit in 2013. Like its predecessor, the goal of exhibit by Streetkonect is to create a gathering of new, female visual artists with considerable potential and a unique, contemporary vision.
And what a powerful exhibit “HER/A” is. Featuring female artists with different artistic styles, the exhibit paraded a mix of traditional mediums (oil, acrylic and watercolor), digital art and mixed media that reflected the diversity of the female experience.
Some pieces in the exhibit were strongly feminist in nature, depicting women in battle-mode as they were ready to clean, and women in strong arms and rays of light. Some pieces were beautiful glimpses into all the different lives women live, photographs in multiple exposures and mixed medium paintings that depicted variations of the female body and consciousness.
All of the pieces in the exhibit, which ran until Nov. 6, were varied form and structure. Yet at the same time, all of the artworks were similar — all conjoined in projecting and celebrating the strength of the female spirit.
Hand-selected by Streetkonnect’s and 856 G’s curators, the roster for the exhibit included the strong and talented artists Adriana Cruzat, Aiko Samantha Aravelo, AjTabino,AngelynKhu, BanaweCorvera, Blanche Sypaco, Christine Cueto, Eloise Daniot, Golda King, Greys Lockheart, Hannah Martinez, Jan Sunday, Jhoan “Tioan” Medrano, Joan Florido, Joanna Claire Uy, Jodie Ferrer, Karla Quimsing, Kathryn Layno, Kring Demetrio, Kriztel Camalongay, Martie Dejos, CMYKA, Patricia Zosa, Sam Despi, Shari Llamis, Sharlyn Mae Erandio, Yas Doctor, Yasmin Erika Lua, and Mikaeru.
According to Monica Alcudia, Flaime and Christie Lee, the co-curators and collaborators from Streetkonect, their selection for the exhibit sifted for female artists with a developed art style. The collaborators wanted the artists for HER/A to have a consistent, clear and contemporary vision in their works. Budding artists who showed these traits were also encouraged to exhibit along the seasoned ones during the call for artists last June as 856 Gallery, which has been known to host only established artists since 2008 but has now opened its doors to younger artists.
With the success of the HER/A, hopefully the series of all-female exhibits from Streetkonect will prosper further and continue to inspire others to take on the torch and fight for women in art today.