In the spirit of International Women’s Day during Women’s History Month, Art Report recognizes five emerging artists who are shaping the landscape of evolutions in contemporary self-portraiture, performance and multi-media art. Bringing splendor and a universality to a constantly shifting art world, these women artists offer a perspective particular to the contextual experiences of their lives.
Tony Gum’s self portraits borrow Pop Art imagery to create a personal campaign for the identity of an African woman in a Western world. Seizing this globally recognizable brand, Gum utilizes Coca-Cola to tailor a representation for “Xhosa garb, ‘African exotic,’ ‘Afropolitan urban chic and the archetypal ‘Bunny Girl.'”
Embellished entirely in Islamic calligraphy, the women in Lalla Essaydi’s series Les Femmes du Maroc and Bullets Revisited question gender roles in Islamic culture. Henna being a traditionally male art, Essaydi re-contextualizes the significant experiences the text usually denotes and adorns these women and their interiors with purely decorative lines. She further investigates the historic male gaze by blending Romanticism’s often misogynistic Orientalist imagery with her redefined subjects.
Berlin-raised performance artist Rachel Libeskind combines imagery and music with film and stage to elevate quotidian moments that give us the opportunity to find ourselves in the mundanity of routines. By creating this immersive conversation with the audience, this multi-media allows us to partake through the physicality of the personal structures she depicts—resulting in what feels like a visual artwork in motion.
Sarah Meyohas made a splash in the art and financial worlds when she traded stocks on the NY Stock Exchange and mimicked the gestural record with an oil stick in a performance at 303 Gallery. Bringing physicality to a cloud of financial valuation, Meyohas also examines these lines as an abstract representation of the concept of time. Meyohas writes, “The stock gives direction to time in the line and in so doing gives the valuation an occurrence, a historical temporality.”
Dutch visual artist Sigrid Calon is definitely worth getting to know. Her bold, playful color palette is one of intrigue. Her technique is beautifully dynamic, echoing Op Art. Using an embroidery grid as her inspiration, she depicts the environment around her through the exploration of color, line and form.
Special thanks to Mitra Khorasheh for curating the list of artists for this article.
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