I raise up my voice — not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
When you are a woman, the world is your oyster sautéed in a male-made pot; an oyster dipped into limited respect, downgraded ambition and a prohibited power for action, but still – an oyster. And when a woman decides to break that oyster shell open, it often happens she becomes everything her (supposed) gender opponents thought she can’t be – groundbreaking, victorious and forever.
In the world of art (and, predominantly, all other worlds overlapping), a woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong and rebellious woman. She is a problem as much as she is the future. She is a game-changer and a leader in her own right. She is everything they fear, but secretly adore. But then – don’t we always dread things we don’t understand? If that woman is not only speaking but backing up her convictions with actions and deeds, she is immediately becoming the architect of society, a character changing the dynamic of all-things-expected-of-a-woman; she is an individual leaving a legacy behind. Beautiful.
Good thing is that Art doesn’t really recognize gender (well, not in the past few decades, at least). We love that we’ve moved past male pseudonyms covering up female pieces of art, we are happy that we’re no longer branded schizophrenic when we appear to have an opinion (unlike during the Victorian era when we were heavily medicated for voicing up, they now just call us crazy) and we’re overjoyed that we’re actively reshaping the conversation. Still, the journey is yet to be documented with triumphant adventures and we’re looking forward to it.
In the meantime, we’ll keep celebrating our success through the marvelous successes that women are leaving behind.
The Modern Movement in architecture would probably not exist now, if it weren’t for its pioneer, the talented Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray. Eileen was an Irish furniture designer and architect who fell in love with lacquer work, and later became the best in it. After working with lacquer for four years, she found out that she had developed a lacquer disease on her hands, but she persisted in her work anyway and – at the age of thirty-five, exhibited her work which was a tremendous success. Shortly thereafter, she turned her interests to architecture and furniture design. That’s when the now-famous E-1027 table came about (yes, that’s the one you’ve been eyeing for months now).
This eccentric and eccentrically genuine performer, the immensely talented Betty Buckley is a maestro whose voice can sound haunting in its lower registers, then rise to a determined high belt, with a pulsing, superior vibrato. As Adam Feldman put it, “her greatest turns — Grizabella in Cats, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard — have been in rotting-glamour roles that seized on the defining paradox of her persona: a compellingly intense yin-yang of fragility and imperiousness”. A spectacular woman!
The fashion revolutionary Ms Coco Chanel played with gender roles through her clothes, and made us aware women can be strong but not at a cost of being feminine. With such a ground-breaking attitude in the post-war America of 1920s, she changed the face of fashion, altogether. Her simple cuts and designs, muted and dark colors, the LBD and a tailored jacket became ultimate statement pieces of women everywhere. Do you have a LBD in your closet? Of course you do.
Dame Margot Fonteyn
The outstanding ballerina of the English stage, Dame Margot Fonteyn was known for her impeccable technical profession, fabulous musicality and precisely conceived and executed characterizations that, consequently, turned her into an international star. She became a much-loved, iconic figure and was the first homegrown English ballerina. After she was paired (professionally) with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, the two enamored the world.
Dame’s talent went much beyond the classical repertoire. She shone in all segments of ballet, touring with the Royal Ballet as a guest and writing books in the process. She was a spectacular ballerina who remained an active performer till her death.
Licko studied architecture, photography and computer programming before earning a degree in graphic communications; and even though she was an architecture enthusiast, she changed her major to visual studies as she believed becoming an architect was too similar to going to business school. And, good thing she did! In the mid-1980s, Licko founded Emigre, also known as Emigre Graphics. In 1984, the magazine Émigré was brought to life and it designed and distributed original fonts under the direction of its editor, VanderLans. Licko was responsible for creating numerous typefaces, including Mrs. Eaves, most of which we still adore today.
Feel like giving these women a quick standing ovation? ‘Cos we do!