Artistic Celebration of International Women’s Day
Posted by: Byron Hurst

Posted on 13 Mar 2019

Art Students at De La Salle College Cronulla are celebrating International Women’s Day in a world wide video link up with the Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWAF)

Art has traditionally had a “Woman Problem” and the students are working with people all around the world to fix it.

Art galleries, universities and senior colleges around the world will be watching and discussing programs on the rediscovery of women artists who have until recently, been forgotten by history.

The Advancing Women Artists Foundation is based in Florence and has a dedicated team of women art historians, curators and conservators who comb the basements and attic storerooms of the world’s greatest art museums. They are rediscovering paintings by women artists which have been in storage for centuries under layers of dust. AWAF then raise funds to have these works restored and put on display to redress the gender imbalance in the historical record.

HSC student, Meg Wade has been researching Elisabetta Sirani, an artist from 16thcentury Bologna.

“Sirani ran her own art studio competing with the male artists on equal terms. She would invite guests to her studio who were amazed by the speed at which she painted and the quality of her work. She was famous in her lifetime, but then forgotten for centuries. Only recently, a Melbourne scholar, Adelina Modesti, resurrected her fame,” said Meg.

“I have been looking at Sister Plautilla Nelli.  She was a nun in Renaissance Florence who ran her convent as a collaborative women’s art studio. Her Last Supper has only just been rediscovered by AWAF, and is undergoing restoration before going back on display. At seven by two metres it is a huge painting and clearly shows Nelli taking on the greatest challenge. The Last Supper was the subject where the artistic giants like Leonardo Da Vinci proved themselves,” said Jasmine Cruise.

De La Salle art teacher Byron Hurst said, “This program has been really empowering for the female students and an eye opener for the boys. The girls are finding inspiration in the women who have gone before them who have not been given their fair share of recognition by male art historians. They are very motivated to redress the imbalance. “

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