A new type of feminist art | Leah Mariani.
I’m an artist and a feminist but I don’t like what is traditionally thought of as feminist art. Type “feminist art” into an internet search engine and you will find art that aggressive as it is explicit. It’s not for everyone. But what exactly is feminist art and how is it relevant to the next wave of gender equality activists?
The feminist art movement began in the late 1960’s amidst a broader social revolution against prevailing norms. Its purpose was to produce art that reflects women’s lives and experiences. It also sought to bring more visibility to women within art history and art practice. Like my forbearers, I wish to challenge attitudes towards social and political gender norms and inspire change through my art. However, the next wave of feminist artist must bring something new to the table.
As Rosemary Betteron asserts in her 2003 essay, the customary feminist art rhetoric must adapt to newer ways of communication, as our culture has changed significantly since the late 20th century. The advent of social media alone has brought about significant changes in communication but so to have other cultural developments. As so the shock tactics of early feminist art may not resonate with the next wave of feminists. The next wave of feminist artists must communicate using methods that have evolved with the times and it seems such changes are here already.
Rather than focus on the rejection of male art and ideals, my feministic artistic manifesto is about the self-objectification of women. We do it to ourselves. We judge each other, criticize ourselves, compete with each other. Therefore, we must first change our own attitudes. As contemporary feminist author Clementine Ford said “I’m not trying to change men’s minds, I’m trying to talk to women. I write for women and I think that’s a beautiful thing to be proud of.”
I make art for women and about women: Art that is pretty, decorative and pastelly coloured. My art will tackle gender issues, body issues, fashion, motherhood, girlhood, friendship and competing expectations. Above all, it will be beautiful and inspiring, just like women. https://www.leahmariani.com/home
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oil on cotton fabric and canvas