Exhibition pulls Belgian female artists out of the shadows

Exhibition pulls Belgian female artists out of the shadows
'Women. Underexposed' will pay tribute to the strength of female Belgian artists. Credit: Belfius Art Collection.

Following years of underrepresentation, one art gallery in Brussels will seek to champion and acknowledge the work of Belgian female artists, putting their creations on display in an exhibition launching on Friday.

'Women. Underexposed' will exhibit the work of dozens of female artists as it attempts to promote the female contribution to the Belgian arts, all the while avoiding falling into the trap of tokenism, curator Bénédicte Bouton said in an interview with The Brussels Times.

Part of the Belfius Art Collection, Bouton said the exhibition is designed to highlight the inequalities women faced, and continue to face, in the art world.

“We wanted to show that it is still important to give women visibility, as there is some progress but it’s still not OK yet,"  said Bouton.

The exhibition will also highlight the struggle for historical female artists, and the bravery it took to commit to their artistic passions.

'Women. Underexposed' highlights the women who "fought to make a living from their passion and share it with the public ... this journey through time evokes the obstacles they have encountered and the pivotal periods," she said.

For the curator, it is essential that this exhibition raises awareness and incites long-lasting change, as opposed to being a token celebration of female artists.

“We hope to enlighten the visitors to realise that women artists are not always known … we want to make the public aware that we still have work to do.”

Held at the Belfius Art Gallery in Brussels, the exhibition will display the works of female artists from the 16th Century to the present day alongside those of their contemporary male artists, with the aim being to ensure that the exhibition does not create a "ghetto effect" for female artists, said Bouton.

Some of the works on show include paintings by surrealists Rachel Baes and James Ensor, contemporary visual artist Ann Veronica Janssens, new work from contemporary visual artist Edith Dekyndt, and more.

Madeleine Fletcher

The Brussels Times

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