Female artists recognised in Know My Name exhibition

How many female artists could you name? This video discusses women in art in the past, present and future.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises.

Transcript

Da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso – they're some of the world's most famous artists, but I wonder if you noticed that all of those names belonged to men.

Annika: Well, I have a question for you, Amelia. I wonder if you could name five women artists. Most people across Australia might have a bit of trouble with that.

Amelia: I think I would. 

Annika: And it really came about … 

Annika is an artist educator here at the National Gallery of Australia, which is on a mission to teach us some new names.

Annika: Some of those really famous names that you might be familiar with – you know, Picasso, Jackson Pollock – these men's names dominate the history books, but those history books were also written by men. 

It's not that women haven't been making great art for hundreds, even thousands and thousands, of years. They have! But for women in many societies throughout history, being recognised as an artist has been a lot trickier.

Annika: In the past, women were more confined to the home, doing domestic labour, raising children.

The type of art they often did create wasn't taken as seriously. And while women were the subject of many paintings, female painters often weren't welcome at the great art academies of Europe, partly because they weren't allowed to see nude male models – a common way to learn to paint people.

Annika: A lot of art schools didn't welcome women in the past. When they did, they might be put into different classes or restricted in the materials and the subjects that they ... that they were allowed to work with. 

For a long time, it wasn't socially acceptable for women to go to bars, cafés and theatres alone, which were popular scenes to paint, and their work was often overlooked or excluded from popular galleries.

Amelia: And does that mean that we've been potentially missing out on a female Van Gogh or, you know, these incredible artists that we might have had?

Annika: Yeah, absolutely. 

Over the years, female artists have fought to change people's attitudes, but there's still a long way to go, as the National Gallery found out when it looked at its own collection.

Annika: Of the 100,000 works of art that we care for in the Australian art collection, only 25 per cent, or one-quarter, were by women artists. That really shocked us and, I mean, I think, if you ask yourselves, 'Is that fair?'

The gallery decided it wasn't and created this exhibition called 'Know My Name', featuring the work of women artists from 1900 to now, from paintings by Grace Crowley to these life-size sculptures by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and Fiona Hall's birds' nests made from shredded US dollars.

Annika: We need to change our perspective and to have a look back at all of the wonderful women artists who might have been overlooked. We need to spend time to appreciate their art and to know their names.

The gallery's also working towards a more equal permanent collection, starting with its biggest female art commission yet – this big guy, Skywhalepapa by Patricia Piccinini. The Skywhales will tour around Australia and show girls that when it comes to art, the sky's the limit.

Annika: This is exciting because this is something that, you know, young people can contribute to, to carve out a better future and a more inclusive future for all of us.

© ABC

Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.

Discussion

Download
Worksheet60.21 KB

Language level

Submitted by Maksmatt on Fri, 14/01/2022 - 18:03

Permalink

Yes, I love to visit art galleries, but in the last years there where almost no possibility to enjoy an exhibition for me.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Fri, 07/01/2022 - 16:27

Permalink

Yes, I love to visit galleries! Even sometimes when I don`t know how the artist wants to affects us. But I feel exited and happy to see creations.

Submitted by seaman47 on Fri, 31/12/2021 - 05:33

Permalink

<<Of the 100,000 works of art that we care for in the Australian art collection, only 25 per cent, or one-quarter, were by women artists. That really shocked us and, I mean, I think, if you ask yourselves, 'Is that fair?'>>
-------------------------
The aim of the gallery is to show great pieces of art but not to keep 50/50 ratio.
If they have found that some masterpieces have been ignored because they were by women it definetly needs to be corrected.
But being shocked of the Male/Female percentage is NONSENSE

Submitted by johns96 on Fri, 24/12/2021 - 05:47

Permalink

god one i guess , but im not really in to this kind of thing hehe

Submitted by danny0509 on Tue, 07/12/2021 - 01:48

Permalink

as a industrial designer, i have always injoied art, and visiting gallery is a really wonderfull experience, i love to can watch famous artists`s pictures, i also injoy sculture. it is fascinating the way an artist transform a simple material and a body, or a face. definitely art is my favorite plan.

Submitted by melissambu21 on Fri, 03/12/2021 - 17:29

Permalink

I enjoy visiting art galleries but I hven't been in onwe in years. I'm always impressed by the ancient art like the sculptures and paintings.