#5WomenArtists for 2018

on March 8, 2018

In honor of International Women’s Day, our staff is highlighting #5WomenArtists for 2018!  These artists use their creativity as a means of expression and advocacy as they encourage us to not only reflect on the world around us but to also consider our place in it. Join us in celebrating women around the globe and throughout time.

Name: Nikki Manibhai
Discipline: Visual Arts
Favorite Female Artist: Kara Walker

Kara Walker stands in front of her art work

“One of my earliest memories involves sitting on my dad’s lap in his studio in the garage of our house and watching him draw. I remember thinking: ‘I want to do that, too,’ and I pretty much decided then and there at age 2½ or 3 that I was an artist just like Dad.”

Throughout her career, Kara Walker has made her viewers question stereotypes and challenge America’s history of racism as we know it. Her use of silhouettes and the stark contrast of black and white forces viewers to question what they see and take a second look—creating a metaphor around the idea that racism, or even gender or sexuality, can be so simple. As a woman of color, I connect with her work personally; Walker’s fearlessness inspires me to break my stereotyped barriers while doing my best to live a life that transcends black and white.

Name: Clarissa Rice
Discipline: Visual Arts
Favorite Female Artist: Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems self portraits

“Art is the one place we all turn to for solace.”

Carrie Mae Weems work reminds me to think critically about the images that are presented to us, and to never take them at face value. She encourages me to write (and rewrite) my own narrative over again in my own words and on my own terms. Her works, especially her photographs, weave together public and private histories to confront stereotypes and subvert cultural norms while prioritizing the humanity of her subjects. Her photographs are as powerful as they are beautiful.

Name: Elda Pineda
Discipline: Visual Arts
Favorite Female Artist: Catherine Opie


“This is what artists do: they challenge and create discourse that create history in relationship to their ideas about their work.”

Los Angeles-based Catherine Opie is one of my favorite artists, hands down. For me, her photographs, especially her portraits, highlight our shared humanity in all its beauty and heartbreaking fragility. Every time I see one of her photographs, it reminds me that wrinkles mean you cared deeply about something, scars mean you lived, and age spots mean that you walked under the sun.

Name: Ratri Lertluksamipun
Discipline: Music
Favorite Female Artist: Andra Day

Andra Day portrait

“Soul music is true to its name. It’s music that connects to your soul, your spirit. When music resonates with people’s spirit like that when people can emotionally connect with something or it helps to heal them, transform them, that never goes out of style.”

Andra Day’s talent and soul has inspired me, first through her empowering single “Rise Up” (from her debut album, Cheers to the Fall, 2015) and recently through her performance of the Oscar-nominated “Stand Up for Something,” with Common at the Academy Awards. They shared the stage with 10 impactful activists of our time who were not only diverse culturally, but generationally, from eight-year-old Syrian refugee Bana Alabed to Cecile Richards, former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In the current wave of resistance and breaking silence, Day’s lyrics and rhythms fuel the individual’s drive to affect change. Her recent #StandUpForSomething social media effort has inspired influential icons such as Oprah and Ellen Degeneres to amplify this message. Day’s stirring vocals and lyrics will no doubt continue spreading the uplifting message of strength and perseverance, serving as the soundtrack for this movement, empowering one person at a time to feel that they can indeed “move mountains.”

Name: KT Leuterio
Discipline: Visual Arts
Favorite Female Artist: Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam

“I live in this world at this moment in time. We are all part of society. It gives me joy to contribute my talent, my experience as an artist to those around me. My works are much loved by children. After many years, though, they will become worn out and disappear. But these children will have had a great time and will remember these moments. From this experience (and I have seen this already) some will grow up and make something new themselves.”

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam is a fiber artist who creates large interactive tactile environments using crochet, knitting, and fiber work. She began this work when she noticed a lack of playgrounds in Tokyo. She crochets full-sized playgrounds by hand, and the sheer size of her work is simply awe-inspiring. She is involved in every step, from manufacturing the rope and fiber used in her work, to designing and crocheting large expanses of playspace. I’m inspired by her work because it exemplifies how art can bridge so many gaps. Her work combines fiber work, physics, geometry, and architecture. I am also such a fan of her work because of its focus on public spaces and interactivity—community-building is always so important and brings another layer of depth and meaning to an artist’s work. As a crocheter, I can only dream of being able to build these spaces by hand. It takes a lot of time and patience; it took about a year to create some of these pieces!

Name: Oscar Navarrete
Discipline: Visual Arts
Favorite Female Artist: Heather Lowe

“When I was young, my fondest memories were running down to the music room and listening to Debussy or Beethoven and putting my hand on the table and just enjoying the music.”

I am inspired by Heather Lowe’s commitment to her craft as both an artist and educator. As a visual arts instructor in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Lowe’s dedication to equity and excellence has had a profound impact on her students and her school. Outside of her work as an educator, she is also a practicing artist. Her lenticulars are illusionary; transporting us to a new, almost surreal plane where we find ourselves questioning our perception of motion, color, and dimension.

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