Women’s Day – a day like any other, everyone performs their daily routines; wake up, coffee, breakfast. Yet this routine is festively interrupted on March 8th by getting a small gift or flowers. Storefronts will go crazy for a few days, as will all kinds of TV or radio commercials. However, in all this it’s worth considering what’s it really all about?

March 1908 is a symbol of women’s struggle for freedom and equality – protests in factories, a fire bursts out in one of them, many people injured, many people dead, a punishment for protesting… This is a distant story that for modern women should be a reminder that the current situation in society has not evolved from nothing. Although Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in 1910, since then there have been a lot of significant changes in the way people think and perceive certain topics. International Women’s Day aims to bring people closer to women’s achievements. It serves to extend their rights in countries where they are discriminated against. At this point, this day – though it was supposed to be a silent reminder, a nice excuse for the celebration of femininity – became a controversial and sometimes even political topic. You shouldn’t commercialize it – that’s true – instead you can reflect and indulge in small pleasures. On this day, let us recall the achievements of wonderful personalities who have contributed so much to the history and culture of our world. Each of them unique in its own way communicates its small truths about life.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1638–39, Royal Collection

My illustrious lordship,

I’ll show you what a woman can do.”

– Artemisia Gentileschi

Gentileschi was an Italian painter representing the Italian baroque, living in the years 1593-1654. As a young girl, she experienced a rough affair with a painter who was accused of rape, Artemisia experienced torture during the trial. These events left a special mark on her work. She was also one of the first artists to raise religious or historical themes in her works.

Chris Lebeau, Portrait of Hanna Höch, 1933, source: Drents Museum, Assen

“I wish to blur the firm boundaries which

we self-certain people tend to delineate around

all we can achieve.”

– Hannah Höch

Hanna Höch as an artist contributed to the development of photomontage and collage, in which she used elements of pop culture. After meeting Raoul Hausmann, she began to be identified with the Dadaist artistic movement. She created critical works about society and ossified stereotypes, which she tried to oppose.

Yayoi Kusama, Person of Cultural Merit, received the Order of Culture on November, 2016.

“A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is

a symbol of the energy of the whole world

and our living life, and also the form of the moon,

which is calm. Round, soft, colourful, senseless and

unknowing. Polka-dots can’t stay alone;

like the communicative life of people, two or three

polka-dots become movement… Polka-dots are

a way to infinity.”

– Yayoi Kusama

Kusama is a Japanese artist and activist who is famous for her flashy colors and designs. She uses the creation of art as art therapy, among others to overcome her obsessiveness and compulsiveness. Currently, she voluntarily lives in a psychiatric hospital in Japan where she has her own studio.

Victoria Selbach

“The power to show real women, honest, present,

complex and complete. Individuals, radiant in

their own right. Not stripped of their personhood,

or manipulated for a fantasy or metaphor.

I like to think the power of lifting the veil

from individuals helps to challenge societies

darker fetishes and beliefs, perhaps shatter

notions of bigotry and stereotypes…

One of my greatest joys is working with women

who do not usually dwell in this side of their beauty

and yet in the work recognize themselves completely,

as they are and magnificent.”

– Victoria Selbach

An American painter who is famous for painting female nudes. Her characteristic feature is the use of color contrast and chiaroscuro effects. The artist’s canvases usually reach life-size dimensions. The foundation of Victoria Selbach’s art is to show the true beauty of women. She currently lives and works in New York.

Marina Abramović – The Cleaner – Palazzo Strozzi, Florence – 19 Sep 2018

“Human beings are afraid of very

simple things: we fear suffering, we fear mortality.

What I was doing in Rhythm 0—as in all my other

performances—was staging these fears

for the audience: using their energy to push

my body as far as possible. In the process,

I liberated myself from my fears.

And as this happened, I became a mirror

for the audience—if I could do it,

they could do it, too.”

– Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović is a Serbian artist who in her work often refers to her place of origin and the political and social situation. Born in 1946 in Belgrade. The most important form of expression in her work was performance and video art. However, body art remained the main medium in her work.

Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941), 1902. (Photo by George C. Beresford/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“What is the meaning of life?

That was all- a simple question; one that

tended to close in on one with years,

the great revelation had never come. The great

revelation perhaps never did come.

Instead, there were little daily miracles,

illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly

in the dark; here was one.”

– Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was an English writer who lived from 1882 to 1941. She was recognized as one of the main representatives of modernism. In addition to her literary creativity, she was also associated with feminist activity. She operated at art salons in London and belonged to the Bloomsbury Group.

Natalie Clifford Barney with a pet dog, Source: Library of Congress

“We will be better than the wife, the mother

or the sister of a Man, we will be

the female brother of the man.”

– Natalia Clifford Barney

An American poet who lived in Paris. She was an activist for women involved in art. In opposition to the French Academy, she founded the Women’s Academy. She was famous for causing scandals and fiery romances with other women. As an artist, she left a strong mark on the works of later poets and writers.


Written by Julia Lakhiani 
Edited by Mikołaj Bartkowiak 

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