Sunday 11 May 2014

Masters!, They Say. But Where Are the Mistresses? Premiere of The Story of Women and Art Part I on BBC 2

Professor Amanda Vickery (image source: BBC 2)

 To watch the programme, please click on the title below:

The Story of Women and Art Part I on BBC 2

"Professor Amanda Vickery journeys from Renaissance Italy to the Dutch Republic and discovers a hidden world of female artistry. By digging in storerooms, convents and basements she rescues dazzling female artists from the shadows, and reveal stories of courage and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles."

Available to watch online until the May 16th 2014.


Monday 10 March 2014

The Woman Reflected: Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier, Photographer (1926 -2009)

Inhabiting the attic and the world
was the road you walked
during your lunch hour. You had your hat on
and a coat and from your neck they dangled:
Two cameras. Your eyes lingering on reflections –

what were you thinking?

Boxes found – a lifetime bound in cardboard and gelatin:
Suitcases, three pairs of shoes to walk with;
and the letters, back and forth.
From these images I figured a woman
who found her place in the world by looking at it –

and how many of us take the time? No, really?

Glass windows let you in and you are, ironically,
juxtaposed with the objects laid out for sale, Vivian.
You walked them by: The vases, the laundrette,
the jewelery, and other women, looking through
the glass — you saw them and what they wished.

By keeping it to yourself you haven’t denied
anyone anything.

You have saved what you saw,
not selling what you looked at so well.
And as if by chance it was found –
by those who never knew you, and dared breaking
into the pyramid that domed your riddles

of a life well spent
and what was found is you, and the world.

 - Luciana Francis, London February 2014.

Friday 7 March 2014

International Women's Day 2014 - and What Have We Done?

Nu Cubista by Brazilian artist Anita Malfatti (1916)

We have done a lot. We can vote and we so should. We can have a go at raising a family, having a career and a refurbished home. We can have a "satori" moment and realize that 'having it all' is not what's cracked up to be.  We have also been overtly critical of our physical selves and we still seem largely critical of other women (all a reflection of our own insecurities).

But we have started to speak out more (even if "speaking out' these days goes in via the twitter-sphere or facebook-land) against violence and injustice - and realized the battle has just begun.

We have demanded fellow women to be celebrated on bank notes, and that demand alone brings along centuries of forgotten or overlooked achievements by women everywhere, in every culture.

It feels like we just got home, after years of following the path of progressive and proactive women who have shown us the way in a time when we were meant to breath through whale bones pressed tight over our rib cages. This house does not need tidying, it needs inhabiting.

This house does not need tidying up, it needs inhabiting.

We are no longer aiming at the fainting couch, we are in that moment just after awakening, blinking and slowly adjusting to the levels of light around us.

We have a long and hard journey ahead but we are not alone and nothing in this journey is new. We have prime examples of incredible human beings that left us trails showing the tracks of emancipation, evolution and freedom.

Do not let anyone but yourself define who you are and what you are about. We have assimilated the wrong given that women are the other to the standardized version of humanity, that is, men. We are not mere variations of a gender - we are humanity too.

Let's go on the look out for those tracks, let's get on with the good fight and let's keep the way open for all the girls following on our footsteps. Like us before them, they certainly need it. Welcome to the world, welcome to history, welcome home.

Welcome to the world, welcome to history, welcome home.

- Luciana Francis, London March 7th 2014.


In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.