When asked why do I only paint women my usual answer is: “Because is the thing that inspires me the most” and is true; I can see (and anybody can, for that matter) so many emotions and possibilities living together, strength, will-power, sensibility, tenderness, passion, enjoyment, intelligence, etc. However today I was wondering why are there so few great women artists? And I think that in the past the role of women was relegated to be in the house (literally) and under the tutelage of the men. The father first and the husband later, when the kids grew up, her role was to help care for the grand children and often went to live with the formed family. Of course this is after the first matriarchal societies were crashed by men (I want to venture that it was because of fear) and they (men) appointed themselves kings, emperors and chiefs. If women left (or escape) her house and “duties” or refused to marry or could not have kids were pretty much outside society, she was the exception to the rule.
It is only in the 20th century that women in general, started rebelling agains the stereotype and started receiving education and aspiring to participate in society in a variety of ways. Women carried the voice of generations of questions and expectations and we did great. Our art was provocative and appealing, warm and brutal, every time, all the time.
Of course it would be mistake to assume that only in the 20th century have women been involved in art, just look at the beautiful embroidery and textiles created in the Andes and Central America for hundreds of years or consider the traditional foods women created with what little they had available; or the women from Mithila (India) creating paintings of their gods all of that is art but have often been dismissed by men as a craft.
In the XXI century, there are still millions of women trapped into their traditional roles and activities without the possibility to escape and choose something different. Call it culture, religion or circumstances.
For those who can’t, let your voice be heard.
Someone, I say, will remember us in the future (Sappho)