If you’re an art enthusiast who loves to visit museums in every country you travel to and if Washington DC is on your travel bucket list, don’t forget to pay a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The NMWA, which was shut when the pandemic struck has now reopened with strict safety norms and social distancing measures. The museum houses more than 4,500 works from over 1,000 artists, dating from the 16th century to the present. But here’s what’s so special about this museum: It’s the only museum in the world solely dedicated to celebrating the artistic achievements and powerful contributions of female artists. Isn’t that amazing?
From still-life paintings in the 1600s to cutting-edge photographs from the 2000s, the gallery showcases works by female artists who forged their way through social, political and cultural revolutions to make their voices heard serving as vital context throughout. You will get to see Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s portrait, the intimacy of a print made by Mary Cassat, Judy Chicago’s abstract sculpture and Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky (it commemorates the brief affair Kahlo had with Leon Trotsky, the exiled Russian revolutionary leader after his arrival in Mexico in 1937).
Recent works added to the collection are Sonya Clark’s Afro Abe II, a U.S. five-dollar bill featuring the 16th president Abraham Lincoln crowned with Afro hair—a symbol of black political rebellion, resistance, and self-affirmation; They Call Me Redbone, but I’d Rather Be Strawberry Shortcake by Amy Sherald, the artist behind the new Michelle Obama portrait at the National Portrait Gallery and Georgia Mills Jessup’s interpretation of the DC street in her painting, Rainy Night, Downtown.
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If this has woken up the art lover inside you and you wish to visit the museum but can’t (because COVID-19 is still very much present), don’t worry. The NMWA is currently holding an online exhibition, Paper Routes—the sixth instalment of the museum’s Women to Watch series in which 22 contemporary artists showcase their creative skills using paper. Sit back, relax and enjoy observing some of the beautiful and complex forms, patterns and designs made from something as simple as paper from the comfort of your home. Here’s a sneak peek into some of these artworks: