PREVIEW: Women Power Protest – a major new exhibition about women

October 4, 2018

A new, major exhibition Women Power Protest – opens at the Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on November 10, 2018.

Barbara Hepworth - Four Figures
Barbara Hepworth – Four Figures

FEMINIST artists who have explored protest, social commentary, and identity in their work, will be showcased in a major new contemporary art exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery this November.

In the anniversary year for women’s suffrage, this exhibition asks just how much has changed for women through contemporary artworks by female artists, drawn largely from the Arts Council Collection, including works from artists such as Turner prize-winning Lubaina Himid, Marion Coutts, Sonia Boyce, Barbara Hepworth and Mona Hatoum.

The exhibition explores some of the experiences of being a woman in 21st century society and the progress still to be made.

Women Power Protest will include bold contemporary artworks from over 55 artists drawn largely from the Arts Council Collection, along with pieces from Birmingham’s own collection.

This Arts Council Collection National Partnership exhibition looks at the experiences of becoming and progressing as a woman amongst varying degrees of opportunity and oppression in relation to race, class, geography and sexuality.

Through debate, protest and radical endeavours, women fought for their right to voice their opinions in a public realm that systematically silenced women. Women Power Protest showcases female artists whose work has highlighted their personal experiences and continued to push for women’s rights over the last seven decades.

The exhibition does not shy away from difficult issues. An early work from Sonia Boyce, Mr close-friend-of-the-family pays a visit whilst everyone else is out (1985) is a charcoal drawing which depicts a challenging scene, that explores the abuse of trust experienced by a young woman, and reflects some of Boyce’s concerns about power relationships. Margaret Harrison’s Rape (1978) uses media texts and images to boldly highlight the injustices against women in rape cases.

Kelly Angela - Women's Identity Series
Kelly Angela – Women’s Identity Series
Emalee Beddoes-Davis
Emalee Beddoes-Davis

Emalee Beddoes-Davis, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “This exhibition acknowledges the monumental step taken for women’s rights 100 years ago, but through challenging contemporary artworks it explores some of the experiences common to being a woman in 21st century society, and the progress still to be made. Feminist activism continues as women across the world strive to have their voices heard and this is an ideal time to reflect and showcase these artworks in Birmingham.

“As women, not all the artists featured in this exhibition have gained the recognition they deserve. The exhibition recognises the historic bias in collections and how we have to continue to strive to ensure female artists, and in particular those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, are given the platform they deserve.”

Jill Constantine, Director of the Arts Council Collection, added: “Representing the work of female artists in the Arts Council Collection is an important aspect of our work. Last year, for the first time, we acquired more work by women than men and in this important year for all women, I am delighted that our National Partner, Birmingham Museums Trust is exploring their contribution in this exhibition.”   

The exhibition will be marked with a weekend of thought-provoking events and activities from Friday November 16 – Sunday, November 18, including performances, spoken-word poetry, debates and talks.

For more details, click here:

Event: Women Power Protest exhibition

Where: Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH

When: November 10, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Times: Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm: Friday 10.30am – 5pm: Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm

Cost: Free Entry

For more information, click here: