BY Victory Art
Whilst women have always been an essential topic in the visual arts they have historically been excluded from the entire artistic canon. That is not to say that women have not participated in the creation of Art, rather that the Western canon solely includes the work of men. To be more specific, the Western artistic canon includes and values the works of Western men only.
Now at first, people may not realize how harmful this truly is. One might think that it makes perfect sense the Western Art canon is inclusive of male artists considering the fact that the first wave of feminism only begun around the late 19th century. So, before that, women weren’t really a part of many industries. Also, as stated in the name, the western Art canon is in fact “western” and does not proclaim to be the “global” art canon. However, the reality is that we live in a westernized world. Through culture, economics, and language, Western values and ideologies permeate it all and this is where the harm lies.
The result of this western canon whilst living in a westernized world is the erasure of everything and everyone outside of that. The erasure of entire demographics, their voices, their expression, and Art. That canon erases 12 countries within Central and Eastern Europe which then means that the women from these countries are non-existent.
Only over the last 50 years a glimmer of light has begun shining on the female artists across Central and Eastern Europe. One of the most famous includes Marina Abramović. A Serbian conceptual and performance artist who has been dubbed the world’s greatest performance artist by the British American fine arts company Sotheby’s. Her career began to come to light in the 70s with her Rhythm 10 performance in Edinburgh. As time progressed, she gained notoriety for her shocking performances and eventually found her way into the United States debuting in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1995. This is probably the greatest achievement for any artist as the MOMA only showcases the greatest works of mankind.
Another talented but lesser-known artist is Natalia LL, Lach-Lachowicz. A Polish painter, photographer and performance artist who was described by The Guardian in 2017 as a “neglected early 1970s Polish pioneer of feminist Avant Garde image making”. Unlike Abramović, Natalia LL focused her career on Poland during the 60s and 70s. Her solo exhibitions within the West become more prominent in the 2000s. Now, what’s the difference between Abramović and Natalia LL?
Both artists were educated in the Academy of Fine Art in Poland and Belgrade. Not much is known about Marina Abramović exhibiting anywhere in Central and Eastern Europe. She had attempted to exhibit in her home country; however, her proposals were denied each time in 1969 and 1970. One reason is that her exhibit proposals were in fact shocking to the Gallery owners in Belgrade. However, Abromović’s works have not become any less shocking in her 50 years of creation. So, the difference between Abramović and Natalia LL is not their talent but rather the opportunities.
The West is undoubtedly more ‘liberal’ than Central and Eastern European countries. That is not to say that the West is completely open minded and Central and Eastern Europe is completely conservative, just that the timelines of these two regions are slightly different. This is why female artists have been able to find more success within the West because the West was ultimately more ready for them at the time of their debut. Therefore, these artists were given platforms and opportunities in the West.
So, the entirety of the Western canon cannot be completely scrutinized as Central and Eastern Europe also bears the responsibility of uplifting their own native female artists. Whilst we cannot change the past, we can alter the future and give artists of Central and Eastern Europe the platforms they deserve. One such platform is Victory Art which houses 59, and counting, female artists.
The company was started in 2019 by Slovakian born Viktória Pikovská. The Artist, and businesswoman, found her education in the Liberal Arts in Prague and there learnt of the immense lack of opportunity Central and Eastern European artists faced in the global Art market. She then moved to the Netherlands to start Victory Art, a platform dedicated to representing, showcasing, and promoting works by Central and Eastern European artists only. With platforms such as these artists, especially female artists, can be given a fair opportunity to showcase their works to the world and get the esteem they truly deserve.
Victory Art was founded in 2018 to bring outstanding contemporary art of emerging Central and Eastern European artists to the international art market. They facilitate over 100 talented artists with over 1500 works in total, showcasing their works at exhibitions while offering services like renting, purchasing, and hiring. Although underrated, Victory Art believes that emerging artists from Central and Eastern Europe are incredibly skilled at creating visually appealing and thought-provoking paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed media. Their art pieces tell the history of Eastern Europe, showcase the change and progress, and give us a glimpse into the future of European art. Victory Art deeply cares about each artist’s story and makes sure they are heard. They also believe in overlooked “outsider” artists, like, deaf-blind Maják residents from Slovakia.
“We aspire to bring art by rising Central and Eastern European artists into the light of international art lovers, interior designers, and art collectors.” – Victory Art
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