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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY (AND MONTH): A GUIDE

16th March 2022 | Guest Writer: Margherita Nussio
To celebrate this year's International Women's Day and Month, our guest writer Margherita Nussio introduces art exhibitions, events and happenings in London that centre on women's history and present.
Are you currently in the UK and are you curious to find out what can you do to celebrate International Women's Day (and Women’s Month!)? This is the right article for you.
Before we start, do you know what International Women’s Day is and what’s its origins are?

International Women's Day, 12 March 1977. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID BARTHO—SYDNEY MORNING HERALD VIA GETTY IMAGES.

The origins of International Women’s Day are unclear. According to some historians, it started in 1848 when in New York a group of women organised a march to demand equal rights. A couple of years later, In England, in 1897 Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage demanding the possibility, for women in the United Kingdom, to vote and to be active members of society.

In 1907 it was organised the first International Socialist Women’s conference in Germany, which can be considered the first milestone that led, in 1911, to the organisation of the second conference in Copenhagen where it was decided to mark one day as International Women’s Day to underline the importance and the urgency for women to have equal rights.

When it comes to art, It’s unclear who can be considered the first woman artist but historians agree that Lavinia Fontana, a painter that worked in Bologna in the 16th century and Artemisia Gentileschi, were among the first to be celebrated in Europe for their talent. In particular, the latter was the first woman to be accepted in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing) in Florence in 1615.

Judith Beheading Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi, c.1620. Oil on canvas, 146.5x108 cm. Courtesy of Le Gallerie degli Uffizi.

Going back to the scope of this article, I have listed some interesting events and exhibitions to celebrate Women’s day this month:
Southbank Centre - The Camera is Ours: Britain’s Women Documentary Makers

Southbank Centre has decided to focus the celebration of Women’s Day on women’s documentary filmmakers proposing different documentaries that cover multiple themes across the world. The focus of the initiative is to give space to authors and filmmakers that, otherwise, don’t have the chance to reach the general public. The range of documentaries and short movies scheduled for this month covers documentaries from the 1950s and contemporary ones for every taste.

Click here for info and tickets.

Photograph: Jill Craigie at work on Blue Scar -1949. Photographed by Len Abbott.

Wembley Park- How Beautiful Change Can Truly Be (March 8th - June 26th 2022)

From the 8th of March until the 26th of June, in Wembley Park 8 public works will be exhibited to celebrate women around the world. The theme is “How Beautiful Change Can Truly Be” and it will showcase a mix of digital artworks, lighting installations, typography, graphic design, photography and illustration. It’s curated by Zoë Allen from Artistic Statement and her team of 16 women. The works displayed are all site-specific and cover different themes and use different media.

More information here.


Wembley Park- How Beautiful Change Can Be. Photo credits: Aron Klein.

Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child. Hayward Gallery (Until May 15th 2022)

One of the most interesting exhibitions of Louis Bourgeois that have been organised in the UK so far. An eclectic mix of different sculptures and works from the French-American artist. A must-see to celebrate Women’s Day and Women’s month. Louise Bourgeois can be considered, alongside Eva Hesse and Judy Chicago, one of the first artists that challenged the status quo and embraced her identity as a woman and as an artist.

Click here for info and tickets!


Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1997. © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021. Photo credits: Maximilian Geuter.

Lubaina Himid. Tate Modern (Until October 2nd 2022)

Even if Lubaina Humid can’t be necessarily considered a feminist artist, this exhibition of Tate Modern is worth seeing and exploring. One of the most interesting exhibitions ever organised with the works of the artists, it explores her unique approach to art, mixing sculpture, paintings and theatre. The artist is well known for her contribution to the recognition of Black art and experience, women’s space and creativity. Worth a visit.

Click here for info and tickets!

Lubaina Himid, Between the Two my Heart is Balanced, 1991. Acrylic paint on canvas, Support: 1218×1524× 27 mm frame: 1292×1600 ×55 mm, Tate. © Lubaina Himid
The Other Art Fair (17th-20th March 2022)

Interested in buying art from female artists? Have a look at the Other Art Fair at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. The Fair was born in 2011 with the scope of creating an environment where the public could have the chance to discover new artists and where emerging artists could find a platform where to start their careers and have recognition.
This year the fair will host 62 % female artists, 50 % of which are new to the Fair. This is a great opportunity to start your collection and to have a look at new, emerging female artists and support the industry.

Click here for info and tickets!

Look up London: Women’s History Month walks (5th-20th March 2022)

Look up London, a collective group of blue-badge tourists guides has organised 15 different walks in London to honour the story of different women and groups that shaped the history of the city. The walks are divided by locations and offer an interesting perspective, giving the chance to everybody to explore and remember the life and the actions of extraordinary individuals. The walks include the history of the Suffragettes, ladies of Marylebone, legal ladies and the women of Bloomsbury.

More info and tickets: LOOKUP.LONDON

About the Writer
Margherita Nussio was born and raised in Udine, a small town in the northeast of Italy, where the proximity of Austria and Slovenia creates an interesting middle-European mix.

She studied Art History at La Sapienza University of Rome and life brought her to London, to undertake a Master's degree at SOAS, University of London, in Contemporary Art of Asia and Africa. She is curious, passionate and always wandering around, trying to discover new things about London and the world.

@margheran

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