There are many types of violence against women, physical, sexual, psychological, financial and more. In art there is an other type of violence: Obliteration.
Try opening a literature book and count the male authors quoted, as opposite to the female ones. Notice anything? The majority of all the artists you find in books and museums are men: is it because women have been incapable of producing works of art that are worth an exhibition? The answer is, obviously, no. Violence against women also exists in art.
The Story of Guerrilla Girls
There are many, many types of violence against women, and obliteration is one of them: the absence of women’s representation is what the Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous feminist artists, tries to fight, by creating works of art that condemn patriarchy and violence against women.
Formed in 1985 with the intent of denouncing racial inequalities and gender stereotypes, this group of activist artists creates all kinds of modern art: books, posters and even public events.
The symbol of Guerrilla Girls
Their symbol is a Gorilla: this is actually due to a mistake! One of the first Guerrilla Girls misspelled the word “guerrilla” during a public appearance, and they kept it as an icon.
They wear gorilla masks in order to remain anonymous during public appearances, and they also use pseudonyms that evoke those of female artists of the past.
How Art denounces Violence against Women
The Guerrilla Girls fight against art that sexualizes women by censoring or putting gorilla masks on the artworks.
In fact, they analyzed the collections of the Met Museum and showed that “women artists had produced less that 5% of the works in the Modern Art Department, while 85% of the nudes were female” (source: Wikipedia).During the years they got their results, and keep influencing people all over the world by denouncing all kinds of violence against women and minorities.
In occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we at KeyARt wanted to talk about how small groups of people can influence society and change it for the better.