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Female Designers - Essay Example

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Female Designers, with reference especially to Zaha Hadid. The world of art and design is full of both men and women who have great talent and a passion for their chosen type of art. In art schools there appear to be at least as many women as men, but for some reason most of the honors and prizes throughout history have gone to famous male artists…
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Download file to see previous pages In the light of this information, there is a final reflection on my own views on being female and how this affects art production in general, and my own work and career in particular. In Western Culture most classical art has come down to us without any secure artist names attached to it, and so we cannot be sure if, for example Greek statues or Roman mosaics were designed and constructed by women. The likelihood is, however, that the vast majority of artistic items were made by men, because we know that men received a much superior education in literature, art and music, while women were trained for domestic labor and useful craft activities like weaving and needlework . Our mythologies reflect a hierarchy in which the male is the artist and the female is the muse, for example in the Greek myth of Pygmalion where the woman is perceived as a “blank page” upon which the powerful male writes his desires (Gubar, 1981, 243-246). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance the high prestige art continued to be done by men, with a few notable exceptions, and the issue here is still that of access to training and materials which is reserved for sons and not daughters. Scholars have noted that by the nineteenth century the forces of “capitalism, patriarchy and racism” (Cherry, 1993, 11) conspired to make it difficult, but not impossible, for women to become competent professional artists. Because women artists are so few, it is tempting to analyse them as a single category and look for common features that define “female art” but in fact this does female artists a disservice. If we look with an open mind we will see that they are heterogeneous, innovative and they have engaged in many diverse types of art with different motivations, just like men. Gubar cites Frida Kahlo, “who presents herself as bound by red cords … is a painter whose tragic physical problems contributed to her feeling wounded, pierced and bleeding” (while Cherry notes the affinity of late nineteenth century female artists in London with the suffragette movement. (Cherry, 1993, 95) For many women artists, their work has provided an avenue to express an alternative reality to the restrictive roles that men have seen fit to allow them. It has been a transformative force in their lives and it is in this light that I consider the Iraqi/British architect and designer Zaha Hadid. Zaha Hadid was born in 1950 to a fairly wealthy Muslim family in Iraq. Her academic career started with studies in Mathematics in Beirut and moved to London where she qualified as an architect. (Encyclopedia of World Biography website, no date). Her work is inspired by a variety of very different sources including ancient Sumerian buildings, Frank Lloyd Wright in American, and an interest in mathematical concepts, as can be seen for example in her her first major work, which was a fire station in Germany with many irregular angles, a feature that she has used in other buildings too. It seems that Hadid has chosen to put aside the expectations of tradition, not just in terms of the expectation that a Muslim woman should not aspire to be a successful architect, but also in terms of the parameters for using angles and spaces. Her later, even more famous design of the Cardiff Bay Opera House was rejected and stalled several times before it was finally built. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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