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Rituals and their locations: Women Artists and Spiritualities
In the school curriculum
16.01.2020 | Ariane Fleury

Samta Benyahia, De Maison Blanche à Maison Blanche, 1997, installation view, Institut Français, Casablanca, © ADAGP, Paris

Artwork is an integral part of most religious liturgies, by way of ritual objects used during ceremonies or the architecture of places of worship, the iconography and ornamentation of which are precious instruments in the establishment of what is considered sacred. As in many other fields of art, only been a minority of women artists have been involved in these productions. However, some were able to reappropriate the realm of the spititual by projecting onto it their own conception of religions and their rituals. Berlinde de Bruyckere (b. 1964), for instance, offers a very melancholic and dark vision of Christianity, which focuses on the depiction of suffering and echoes her work on the body and intimacy. In a very different way, the sculptures of Shirazeh Houshiary (born in 1955) use the aesthetic codes of Islamic architecture to enhance their delicateness and subtlety. In several of her videos and cave sculptures, Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) took an interest in Cuban religions predating European colonisation by visiting caves where goddesses that she associates with her own reflection on the link between nature, physicality and femininity were once worshipped. Mariko Mori (born in 1967), on the other hand, is not fascinated by ancient idols but by new ones; in Miko no inori (Shaman-girl’s prayer, 1996), she filmed herself conducting a futuristic shamanic prayer dressed up as a cybernetic mistress of ceremony.

Whether adopting a critical stance on these beliefs or choosing to exalt them, all these artists propose a commentary on religions, on the way they are practised or the places in which they thrive in order to better make them their own, as well as to encourage us to question our relationship to spirituality and its codes.

Artists
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1949 | Philippines
Agnes Arellano - AWARE

Agnes Arellano

1971 | Madagascar
Malala Andrialavidrazana - AWARE

Malala Andrialavidrazana

1967 — 1999 | Cuba
Belkis Ayón - AWARE

Belkis Ayón

1949 | Algeria
Samta Benyahia - AWARE

Samta Benyahia

1944 | United States
Linda Connor - AWARE

Linda Connor

1964 | Belgium
Berlinde De Bruyckere - AWARE

Berlinde De Bruyckere

1955 | Iran
Shirazeh Houshiary - AWARE

Shirazeh Houshiary

1939 | Sudan
Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq - AWARE

Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq

1948 — Cuba | 1985 — United States
Ana Mendieta - AWARE

Ana Mendieta

1967 | Japan
Mariko Mori - AWARE

Mariko Mori

1940 — 2018 | Australia
Phyllis Booljoonngali Thomas - AWARE

Phyllis Booljoonngali Thomas

1922 — 2019 | Iran
Monir Shahroudy  Farmanfarmaian - AWARE

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

1881 — United Kingdom | 1962 — Switzerland
Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn - AWARE

Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn

1959 | Mexico
Silvia Gruner - AWARE

Silvia Gruner

1926 | United States
Betye Saar - AWARE

Betye Saar

1971 | United States
Shinique Smith - AWARE

Shinique Smith

1935 — 1974 | Brazil
Maria Auxiliadora da Silva - AWARE

Maria Auxiliadora da Silva

1924 — China | 2011 — Australia
Irene Chou - AWARE

Irene Chou

1946 | New Zealand
Liz Coats - AWARE

Liz Coats

1956 | Saudi Arabia
Hend Al-Mansour - AWARE

Hend Al-Mansour

1924 — 2015 | Australia
Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori - AWARE

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori

1960 | Argentina
Mónica Millán - AWARE

Mónica Millán

1899 — 1925 | Hungary
Erzsébet Korb - AWARE

Erzsébet Korb

1864 — 1942 | France
Séraphine Louis, dite de Senlis - AWARE

Séraphine Louis, dite de Senlis

1947 | Poland
Yocheved Weinfeld - AWARE

Yocheved Weinfeld

1969 | Israel
Nira Pereg - AWARE

Nira Pereg

1946 | Serbia
Marina Abramović - AWARE

Marina Abramović

1959 | Australia
Judy Watson - AWARE

Judy Watson

1924 — 2005 | Haïti
Louisiane Saint-Fleurant - AWARE

Louisiane Saint-Fleurant

1968 | Haiti
Myrlande Constant - AWARE

Myrlande Constant

1962 | Peru
Lastenia Canayo García (Pecón Quena) - AWARE

Lastenia Canayo García (Pecón Quena)

1947 | Palestina
Juhaina Habibi Kandalaft - AWARE

Juhaina Habibi Kandalaft

1948 | Lebanon
Afaf Zurayk - AWARE

Afaf Zurayk

1947 | Palestine
Nechama Golan - AWARE

Nechama Golan

1945 | Lebanon
Seta Manoukian (Ani Pema Drolma) - AWARE

Seta Manoukian (Ani Pema Drolma)

1922 — Hungary | 2020 — United Kingdom
Suzanne Perlman - AWARE

Suzanne Perlman

1958 | United States
Renee Stout - AWARE

Renee Stout

1971 | French Guiana
Nathalie Leroy Fiévée - AWARE

Nathalie Leroy Fiévée

1972 | Israel
Raida Adon - AWARE

Raida Adon

1951 | Israel
Michal Na’aman - AWARE

Michal Na’aman

1961 | Japan
Rei  Naito - AWARE

Rei Naito

1914 — 2002 | Peru
Apolonia Dorregaray Veli - AWARE

Apolonia Dorregaray Veli

1933 — Haiti | 1988 — Canada
Rose-Marie Desruisseau - AWARE

Rose-Marie Desruisseau

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