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Meet 7 trailblazing women making waves in the art world

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Women make up more than 51% of the artists being showcased at this year’s The Other Art Fair - and for good reason.

From art galleries to exhibitions, female artists are (rightfully) claiming their space in what has traditionally been a very male dominated environment.

They’re also making their mark over on Instagram, with female illustrators, photographers and sketchers redefining the very definition of womanhood itself.

On Thursday, the 2018 edition of The Other Art Fair will finally land in London, showcasing an incredible range of female talent. In fact, women make up more than 51% of the artists being showcased at this year’s fair, and the offerings on display are all the richer for it.

Here, stylist.co.uk hears from seven of the female artists about their own experiences of equality in the art world. Scroll through to read their thoughts and see some of their gorgeous imagery, below.

Yuliya Martynova 

In my short time working professionally in the industry I haven’t noticed much disparity between the gender of the creators. Maybe in the past men have been considered to be more courageous on breaking new grounds. 

Being an artist, as with most self employed careers, there is an emphasis on multitasking, so it requires a strong character.

Women have got tougher across all the industries so it’s no wonder we see a higher level of professional artists presenting now.

Delphine Lebourgeois

I think it’s great that half the participants are women at this year’s fair. There has been quite a lot of discussion recently about the imbalance of gender representation in the art world so it’s good that things are starting to change, even if far too slowly.

Looking at the world’s top galleries who also act as the tastemakers for wealthy collectors, only 20-30% of represented artists are women. Same discrepancy occurs at auctions (where women never reach the figures of their male counterparts), in public institutions and commercial galleries.

The gap is systemic and from a cultural and financial point of view we still consider the work of men as more worthy.

So the effort needs to carry on. For things to really change it will take the most powerful galleries and institutions to challenge the patriarchal system they operate and rectify this disparity by championing more women artists, changing people’s cultural perception and finally redressing that balance. 

Victoria Topping

The figure of 51% feels great, and it’s also special how many of the women are mothers. Being a mother myself, it’s empowering and also unusual to be around so many women who have managed to maintain a full time art career and look after children. Its great being able to share experiences and be inspired by them.

Fei Alexeli

At last year’s art fair in London, an old lady approached me and told me she was a painter herself, and that she had come to see all the female artists. She wished me luck and told me her story, the conclusion of which was that women didn’t have these opportunities when she was young. 

It’s shocking to realise how unfair things were, and still are, for women. So, I’m very happy and proud to be part of The Other Art Fair knowing that they are nurturing equality in the art field.

Emily Kirby

It means a lot to know that The Other Art Fair offers an equal platform for all. It’s refreshing to be part of a community that values you for your work and not your sex. This should be the norm but unfortunately I know of too many extremely talented and creative women that are asked to step aside for their male counterparts. It’s a shame there is still such a long way to go but I’m optimistic things are changing.

May Parlar

I am very happy that there is a strong female representation at the fair, which is something we don’t see often. I find it both interesting and sad though, that we are in 2018 and still talking about how little space female artists occupy in the art world. I hope in the near future that being represented equally would not even be news - it would simply be normal.

Morag Myerscough

I believe in equality, and so the representation of male and female artists at this year’s fair sounds like the perfect balance.

The Other Art Fair will be held from 22-25 March 2018 at Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1. Follow the action on social media using the handle @THEOTHERARTFAIR

All images courtesy of the artists, via The Other Art Fair


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter