6 female Instagram artists redefining womanhood in 2018

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Instagram feed The Great Women Artists celebrates the best UK-based female artists on Instagram. Here, meets the curator, and takes a closer look at six powerful artists who are working to redefine womanhood.

What does it mean to be a woman today?

It’s a lofty question, and one that many of us will have asked ourselves in light of recent events. Last year began with Trump in the White House, a man who has proved himself to be a president with a mission to dismantle women’s rights over their own bodies. Add to this the hundreds of women (and a number of men) who came forward to level claims of sexual harassment at worshipped Hollywood icons, and it’s hard not to feel discouraged.

But in amongst the horror and the discontent, women have been uniting together to rise up as one. You only need look at the incredible, worldwide Women’s March from 2017, or the viral shockwaves felt by the #metoo movement, for proof of this. Social media is enabling women to rocket their messages across the globe like never before, and Instagram is just one of many platforms being used to redefine womanhood.

One of the women at the forefront of this movement is Katy Hessel, a Londoner whose commitment to celebrating female artists saw her launch an Instagram feed, The Great Women Artists, back in 2015. Now with over 9,000 followers, the feed offers a daily curation of work created solely by women, and features anyone from emerging artists to well-established names.

The powerful, thought-provoking images tackle any and all of the topics that concern women today, from femininity and sexuality to mental health and politics. The feed has proved so popular that it even had its own exhibition, aptly named The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram, featuring 15 of the UK’s most ground breaking artists.

Below, takes a closer look at six of the women, with commentary from Hessel herself.

Charlotte Edey

“Charlotte Edey’s pastel-coloured surreal illustrations address themes of femininity, fluidity and sensuality in their impossibly spaced landscapes. These dreamlike visions come in all sorts of mediums, from ceramics to tapestry, drawings and prints.”


Venetia Berry

“Venetia Berry’s Giacommetti-inspired paintings, etching and drawings focus on the nude female figure in a simplified, pure line context. The distorted and elongated figures that she creates in both full colour and pure line are presented on Instagram as a classical take on a dreamlike canvas.”


Antonia Showering 

“Showering’s texturally rich and eery canvases capture the ephemeral nature of memory through the many layers of narrative that physically and emotionally lie beneath her figures. Often depicting the artist’s family or loved ones, her account is a must-follow due to her fiery colours and behind-the-scenes studio shots.” 


Alice Skinner 

“Follow Alice Skinner aka @whothafuckisalice’s political, playful and pastel-coloured illustrations for social commentaries that address all types of important topics in a humourous and accessible fashion. Always one to make you laugh, Alice’s pop-y pictures have previously depicted Teresa May on a dating site and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles as girls taking a group selfie.”


Alice Aedy 

“Photojournalist Alice Aedy documents her time travelling through places such as Iran and Somaliland, as well as being on the front line of the European refugee crisis. What Alice’s stunning portraits capture are the intimate relationships between women, friends, youths and families in extreme circumstances.”


Rose Harris 

“Modern-Fauvist print and screen-print maker, Rose Electra Harris, creates surreal and vibrant interpretations of dreamlike interiors in her colourful insta feed. Constantly using motifs such as lemon squeezers or chandeliers in her distorted scenes, Harris reimagines a colourful dialogue between space and objects.”