5 The Art of Feminism;
In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘We should all be feminists.’ Although feminism is sometimes portrayed as a fringe issue, gendered inequality and injustice still infiltrate our institutions, statistics, and daily lives. Opting out of feminism means opting out of the struggle for equality. And that, quite frankly, is not an option.
It is no surprise that Adichie’s book with the same title kicked off the feminist reading group of ArtEZ studium generale in early 2018. After the hyperwave of media attention resulting from the #metoo movement, our students, tutors, staff, and audience were keen to engage in conversations about race, gender, and class with a feminist approach. In collaboration with Mister Motley, this grew into a monthly reading group, The Art of Feminism, with guest speakers that discussed seminal works of feminist writing in an informal setting outside of the academy. Since its start in 2018, its consistency resulted in a committed and growing group of readers who come together to critically reflect on privilege, gender bias, inequality, and systemic injustice.
With guest speakers from both in and outside the art world, such as Nancy Jouwe, Zippora Elders, Patricia Kaersenhout, Linda Duits, and Aline Hernández, The Art of Feminism has contributed to a move to self reflect on the art world’s problematic position towards feminism. This resulted amongst other things in the Roadmap to Equality. This conference addressed the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women artists, women of colour, and queer artists. Of course, the Roadmap implies that there is still a long way to go. But with The Art of Feminism, ArtEZ has made some significant strides towards engaging with a more equal, just, and feminist society.