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Women, Art and Gender

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Autor:   •  June 9, 2011  •  Essay  •  284 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,123 Views

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Gender is a broad term intended to distinguish between male and female. Wrapped up in this is the issue of designated social roles associated with gender, and gender identity. In the 21st century, one would imagine that gender issues are largely resolved, considering that women had won the right to vote over a 100 years ago, and suffragettes and feminists are almost passé. However, women still find themselves disadvantaged and oppressed in most spheres of society, and as always, where there is a site of struggle, there are artists. I have selected four women artists who express gender issues through their works.


The South African artist Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg in the Northern Cape. She studied Fine Arts at Rhodes University and Portsmouth Polythechnic in the UK. She has been lecturing in the Fine Arts Department of the University of the Witwatersrand since 1984. Siopis is a successful artist who has exhibited locally and internationally since 1975. Awards for her work include the Volkskas Atelier and Vita Art Now awards.

In her Pinky Pinky series, Siopis explores the psychological and mythical realms of teenage girlhood in South Africa. Pinky Pinky is a mythical figure who preys on pubescent and pre-pubescent girls in Black townships. He lurks in public toilets where he molests girls. This is a very topical issue in a country where the rape and abuse of women is disproportionately high.

The two-colour lithograph below is entitled Untitled (a creature called Pinky Pinky...). In this print, Siopis creates the sense of suffocation Pinky Pinky induces in his victims. It was produced in 2002 and is 75,4 x 106cm in size. There are 25 prints in the edition.


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