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Woman Who Paint Women

Who better to depict women than a woman? Women are complex beings, full of faces, emotions, dreams, and desires. Sometimes a simple look will allow you to understand, but sometimes you have to look more carefully. We have discovered five artists who focus on and investigate inside the female soul—into the female essence.

Phulani Liebenberg

Phulani Liebenberg, Nailah, 2017. Oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm.

Phulani is a South African artist who was born in 1976 in Eastern Cape. The artist paints on large canvases with bright colors, and she tries to capture the essence of the faces of different African women. Every painted subject tells a story about herself—every look, mouth, and cheek has a meaning that is interpreted by the artist. The purpose of these paintings is to immortalize every emotion, expression, dream, worry, and wonder of her subjects. Phulani’s canvases are distinguished by its subjects’ piercing eyes, which capture the gaze of the observer in a vortex of sensations and emotions.

Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat. I Am Its Secret, 1993.

Shirin Neshat is a New York artist of Iranian origin who has, since the beginning of her career, been fighting for the affirmation of Islamic women in today’s society. The tools most used by the artist are video-art, photography, and cinema. Islamic women have often experienced prejudice about their religious lifestyles. Shirin Neshat aims to bring out the voices of these women by claiming their role as women, mothers, and Muslims.

We recall her Women of Allah series (1995) in which the artist photographs herself and other Muslim women wrapped in a hijab covered with poetry—sometimes written by Iranian women in Farsi.

Frida Kahlo

Thinking about Death. Frida Kahlo, 1943.

It’s difficult to find anyone who doesn't know who Frida Kahlo was. Born in 1907, Kahlo was a Mexican artist with a difficult and challenging life. Her first works date back to her tragic accident in 1925, where she was hit by a streetcar. During her recovery, Kahlo laid on the bed for an extended period of time. To keep her busy during her long recovery, Kahlo’s mother and father gave her canvases and brushes and put her in front of a mirror. The self-portrait became a recurring theme for the young artist. She claimed to want to paint what she knew, and in that dramatic moment, what she best knew was herself and her discomfort. The deformed and battered body remained a recurring theme throughout her art. A second theme dear to Kahlo were Mexican people from around her country. with Mexico’s popular culture and pre-Columbian culture, Kahlo had much to draw inspiration from. Mexico is the land where she was born, raised, and where she found the love of her life—the Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

Elena Gual Baquera

Purple Rain. Elena Gual Baquela. 2017.

Elena Gual Baquela is a versatile Spanish artist. Her Florentine background introduced her to the impressionists, who she still inspire her. The artist stands out for her canvases that are rich in light, color, and female protagonists. With the camera, Elena steals life shots of women, who she meets during her travels, and then she brings them to life again on her canvases. Her purpose is to reproduce what she sees in real life on the canvas—the beauty, grace, and elegance of women. The faces she recreates capture the observer’s gaze and then causes the observer to get lost in each brush stroke performed by the artist.

Faith 47

Faith 47.

Faith 47 is a female street artist from South Africa. Her particular focus is the search for human interconnections. The goal of her work is to capture the complexity of the human condition, which is continually in search of the meaning of existence. With every street artist, even this artist feels attracted to abandoned, decadent places, a bit like the society in which we live. Through painting, videos, prints, and drawings, Faith 47 is constantly looking for something that comes closer and closer to the continuous search for happiness and the reason for our existence.

Francesca Woodman

Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island. 1976.

Francesca Woodman is an American photographer who is famous for the study of the fusion between the body and the surrounding environment. Often, to participate in her own photographs, Francesca Woodman used long exposures or double exposure. This artist used to create photographic works by filming naked women, seeking the fusion between the subjects of the photographs and the environment surrounding them. Woodman’s works are inspired by the works from mainstream surrealism; both for the desire not to explain her works and for the ambiguity of them.


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