Friday, November 25, 2011

Why so few women artists in this exhibition?

Yesterday I went to the National Museum to have a look at an excellent exhibition of Chinese art. Admission is free and the work has been well curated so that it is easy to have a good look around without feeling overwhelmed.

You can check it out on the museum website here:

The publicity claims there are more than 70 works, yet I only counted three by women (one sculpture, two paintings) and one collaborative work with a woman, a husband and wife team. The three works by women all featured women, two of them very pretty, contemporary looking, young women. I was surprised by this for some reason, perhaps I expected a communist country to have a more egalitarian attitude to participation in the arts. The big subjects - the environment and the representation of Chinese people in a political context - were not represented by women artists at all. Interesting.

There are quite a few excellent contemporary Chinese artists living and exhibiting in Australia (some of them represented in this exhibition) so this exhibition provides an interesting historical background to Chinese art for anyone interested in this ancient and sophisticated culture. It is also a beautiful and interesting exhibition in it's own right and well worth a visit.

I had a look at this exhibition too.
There are some fantastic gems of indigenous art featured and displayed in a way that puts them into an interesting historical context. I enjoyed this exhibition a lot. It is at the 'First Australians Gallery'. This is the first time that I have been to the First Australians Gallery - it isn't exactly centre stage is it? Lots of interesting stuff there, though in the way of the National Museum, a bit higgledy piggledy.

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