Kevin Brennan, the shadow arts minister, said the situation was “not good enough” and called for a change in policy. “Only about a quarter of the work acquired by the government art collection in recent years is by women,” he said. “Female artists are at least as talented as their male counterparts and the government should be setting an example by getting rid of the institutionalised bias in their acquisitions policy.”
2017 may have been the year of feminism, but next year is shaping up to be a glorious year of female magnificence. Because the London Underground is going to be celebrating female artists all year, with a programme of works by women. The programme marks 100 years since women were granted suffrage. And it also forms part of Sadiq Khan’s gender equality campaign, #BehindEveryGreatCity, which hopes to celebrate the capital’s role in securing votes for women and looks to increasing gender equality in 2018.
Visiting museums while growing up, Zolzoya Bakthuyag, a 34-year-old lawyer, always wondered why the places that depicted the history of her country always exhibited men’s photos and paintings so prominently. “Mongolian women played a great role building the country too, but museums only hang men’s photos. It was confusing,” she said, sitting in her office in a high-rise building huddled by snow-peaked green hills in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
The project alerts the public to the number of female artists in their cities, many of whom are invisible, the artists said. “Seeing is believing. You have all these curated shows of female artists, and curators stand up and say there were so many more artists. Okay, but how many more?” she said. “If you hold up a discrepancy, point it out, people have to confront it.”