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9th March 2024

Four women who make the art world a better place

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, we asked our writers to tell us a bit about their favourite women artists.
Four women who make the art world a better place
Guerilla Girls at The V & A Museum Credit: Eric Huybrechts @ Wikimedia Commons

Like many other realms, reading through the stats on the representation of women in the arts can make for a pretty depressing read. Despite years of campaigning and raising awareness, the art world still has a lot to do when it comes to gender equality. But, while there is still progress to be made, we’re supporting International Women’s Day’s mission to celebrate and elevate women creatives, by highlighting some of our favourite women artists and celebrating their invaluable contributions.

Arpita Singh

Arpita Singh’s emotive and expressive artworks weave captivating narratives, immersing the audience in a profound, personal experience. Despite the dynamic complexity within her compositions, there’s a harmonious balance that avoids overwhelming the viewer, evoking an enigmatic direction.

A distinctive feature lies in Singh’s adept use of thick paint, crafting textured canvases that transcend mere depiction, resonating through the art of storytelling itself. The vibrancy of colours saturating her work establishes a unique visual language, enhancing the narrative’s emotional resonance.

In Singh’s artistic realm, it’s not merely about what is painted, but the mesmerising way she paints a vivid and compelling story. Most of Arpita’s art explores femininity, with an urban perspective, reflecting the roles, identities and struggles of women within the societal context of India.  

Florence Welch

Florence Welch, the heart of the band Florence + the Machine, is more than just her striking vocals and lyrics. She’s a Renaissance woman in every sense, dabbling in everything to do with aesthetics (see her room tour with NOWNESS) and, notably, dance. 

Her dance oscillates between poignant spectacle and startling fluidity, encapsulating life’s unpredictable swings between joy and melancholy. She dances like a puppet coming to awareness, shaking off the ghostly strings that once dictated her movements. In her ‘Big God’ music video, where she participates in the choreography, she crawls with the heavy stride of a powerful creature at one moment, while collapsing unexpectedly in the next, as though dragged down by an unseen force. 

Her performances have been hauntingly wild and cathartic, yet earnest and graceful. Through her dance and art making, Florence Welch displays our inherent resilience during our darkest moments as humans, and a profound longing for life. 

Caroline Walker

Art has never been my forte in either creating or appreciating, but one artist whose work frequently appears on my Pinterest and that I promptly admire is that of Caroline Walker.

Walker’s paintings tell women’s stories: specifically ‘the diverse social, cultural and economic experiences of women living in contemporary society’ (Stephen Friedman Gallery).

Walker paints mothers, tailors, nail artists, housekeepers, friends, colleagues and more. Her work is ‘[b]lurring the boundary between objectivity and lived experience’ which is emphasised through the hazy quality of Walker’s paintings with their soft edges, brush strokes, and semi-realistic look. My personal favourites are Beauty BoxSunset, and Birthday Party because they are rich with detail and capture such specific moments and spaces that are both recognisable and mysterious.


Artists you need to know: Caroline Walker #art #artist #painting #contemporaryart #womenartists #figurativepainting #artgallery #arthistorytiktok #arthistory

♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

Azraa Motala

Azraa Motala is a multidisciplinary artist from Preston. I first saw her work at the British Textile Biennial in 2021. Her exhibition, Unapologetic, was hosted at Blackburn Museum and was accompanied by a series of large-scale banners depicting her paintings, all hung on various public buildings in Lancashire.

Motala’s work explores her identity as a British Asian Muslim Woman and the representation of women from the diaspora, from past to present. Her oil paintings have an enthralling quality, her attention to detail is meticulous and makes for a fascinating viewing experience.

A perfect example of this is her self-portrait, I Beg You To Define Me. The work depicts Azraa, seated against a solid black background. The simplicity of the background makes her figure especially striking. The realistic rendering of different fabrics and embellishments is a testament to her skill as a painter, you could spend hours in front of this painting, just taking in each and every detail. You can see I Beg You To Define Me on display at Manchester Museum.

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