Have you ever wondered why so many of the images of women that we see in museums are nudes? Or why there are so few women artists? Or what role women have played in the history of art?
History of Art
Museums are created to show art, but they are also an invaluable place to hold conversations where critical thinking takes place on subjects such as current affairs, tolerance, gender equality, creative thinking, politics, human rights and more. Every day of our lives, we come into contact with seemingly innocuous images that are in fact ideologically driven. Adverts in the Underground or on TV, photos in the press and Hollywood movies all transmit ideas about issues such as gender, class, nationality and ethnicity. It is very easy to remain oblivious to the effects these can have on society, as such images from the media and popular culture tend to be consumed in a state of distraction. A visit to a gallery can be a similar experience for the untrained eye. The gallery bombards us with so many images that it can be hard to take in anything at all, let alone to look at the works from a critical standpoint. Our contemporary visual culture, from ads to films, is highly influenced by the canon of art history and, through this, the predominant ‘gaze’ of Western patriarchy and its ways of representing the world. Yes, art from the past can be beautiful, but it is also telling us some often quite uncomfortable things. There is a lot to be gained from examining pictures in galleries to see how they can be relevant to issues in contemporary society, as well as to our own personal experiences.Our workshops concentrate on visual literacy: learning how to look at and ‘read’ artworks and, by extension,all manner of images that we see day to day. Aiming to escape a passive reception and acceptance of art, we promote the act of looking as an active, critical dialogue.