5 to See: International Women’s Day

5 to See: International Women's Day

Marking the continued journey to establish gender equality, global and cultural institutions celebrate International Women’s Day through thought-provoking events and celebratory exhibitions.

Artichoke: Processions, Across the UK.

The centenary of women gaining the right to vote is honoured by Artichoke through the collaborative workshops: 100 years. 100 Banners. By placing 100 female, female-identifying and non-binary artists – including Lucy Orta (b. 1966) and Rita Duffy (b. 1959) –within diverse communities across the country, facilitated by 100 organisations including The Whitworth, Manchester, this unique initiative produces banners inspired by the suffragettes’ protests and chants. Emphasising the evolution from many perspectives,  the resulting pieces will be paraded through the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Participants, dressed in the colours of suffrage, simultaneously construct a living portrait, disrupting the everyday and acknowledging this momentous milestone.

Registration from 8 March. Main event on 10 June. Find out more here.

Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Fotografiska, Sweden.

The conventions of classical portraiture and fashion photography are explored by artist and activist Zanele Muholi (b. 1972) who highlights how socio-political events continue to influence archetypal representations of black bodies, noting how the political and the aesthetic intersect. Defining the Somnyama Ngonyama series as a “discomforting, self-defining journey”, the exhibition explores  sexuality in private and public realms, questioning how postcolonial preconceptions continue to affect black identity. The photographer emphasises her subjects’ characters, manipulating contrasts whilst incorporating ready-made props including scouring pads and untamed wire, resulting in provocative, stark photographic portraits, which encourage a discussion surrounding social justice, race and beauty.

Until 1 April. Find out more here.

NMWA celebrate International Women’s Day: #5WomenArtists campaign, Hung Li In Print, Women’s House, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

“Can you name five women artists?” asks NMWA for another year, as the institution takes to social media, challenging individuals and organisations to research, discuss and share their answers to this often unanswerable question. This year’s campaign uncovers a further mode of discrimination – race – and asks why women of colour are especially overlooked by galleries, auctions, and consequentially, the public. Hung Li in Print explores the significance of printmaking for females throughout time, showing how the medium continues to facilitate gendered, societal critique. By identifying minority figures within historic, Chinese photographs, Hung Li (b. 1948) creates textured colleges, delving into the forms of self-representation, specifically her duel-identity as a Chinese and Californian artist. Women’s House invites 30 global creatives to re-examine the nature of domesticity, viewing it as a place of liberation rather than maternity, labour and security. A sequel to Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro’s Womanhouse (1972), the exhibition combines photography, video, sculpture and house-like installations.

Find out more here.

Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London.

The eighth annual WOW Festival poses the question: why is gender equality taking so long? Video game installation Hair Nah explores the daily frustration felt by women of colour as individuals touch their hair without permission. Created by Mono Pixel, the game invites viewers to weave through a pixilated world, dodging unwanted contact whilst travelling to an endpoint. A further highlight of the event includes Face of Defiance, a confrontational yet celebratory exhibition which features monochrome portraits of FGM survivors. The show results from collaboration between photographer Jason Ashwood, psychotherapist and activist Leyla Hussein, and The Girl Generation, a collective of 720 organisations who work to combat FGM. Additionally, Body of Women stages conversations of personal challenge and eventual self-acceptance, enabled by feminists Jo Corrall and Naomi Wood. Inviting individuals into their private photographic studio, the pair aim to uncover the physical and psychological hardship which arises after experiences of bodily trauma, including sexual assault and eating disorders.

Until 11 March. Find out more here.

Art on the Underground, Across London.

As part of the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, a selection of global female creatives are transforming public, urban landscapes across London, addressing gendered discrepancies by reframing existing architecture and installing artistic explorations. A highlight of these year-long commissions comes in June as British-born Heather Phillipson (b. 1978) creates a sculpture, which stretches along 80m of Gloucester Road Station’s disused platform. Further works  include a billboard at Southwark by legendary, feminist artist Linder Stirling (b. 1954) and an assortment of tube map covers, reimagined by a range of global painters including Romanian illustrator Geta Brătescu (b. 1926).

Across 2018. Find out more here.

1. Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo, 2015 © Zanele Muholi.