Women’s Work: Art & Activism in the 21st Century at Pen + Brush



Image credit: Suchitra Mattai, Shadow Land, 2019, gouache, watercolor, oil, acrylic, vintage needlepoint, Hindu comic, 30″ x 40″ x 1.50.” Courtesy of the artist and K Contemporary, Denver, CO.

Women’s Work presents five global contemporary artists-activists who continue to expand the definition of women’s work and expose its complexity, nuance, and ever-evolving nature. Through dynamic art practices, they generously lend their intelligence, thoughtfulness, artistry and agency to reimagine women’s work as arts activism in the 21st century.

For Sama Alshaibi, that work is to re-visualize the historical and contemporary image of the Middle Eastern woman. For Cuban-born María Magdalena Campos-Pons, women’s work is rooted in the intersections of art and healing. In challenging the dismissal of women’s handmade traditions, Suchitra Mattai works to elevate the artistry of women of the Indian Diaspora. Through her portraiture of Malagasy women, Miora Rajaonary usurps a history of Madagascar rarely written by women. And, for Ming Smith, to bear witness, to document, to show up and be present in lands near and distant, is women’s work.

Collectively, these artists remind us that women’s work is rooted in activism, justice, healing, service, and resistance. Women’s Work is a provocation for us all ~ to reclaim the term and to make space for its reinventions and future possibilities.

Related publication, Women’s Work: Art & Activism in the 21st Century available.

Women’s Work: Art & Activism in the 21st Century, curated by Grace Aneiza Ali, is a continuation of a year of programming for Pen + Brush’s 125th Anniversary. The exhibition will be on view through August 2, 2019 at Pen + Brush, 29 East 22nd Street, NYC