A rightful celebration of the underrated players in local art

With the new month just around the corner, you can bet that there’s a whole lot in store. But aside from just things to do, March also holds extra significance—as the official Women’s History Month, or at least in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. An expansion from International Women’s Day (Mar 8), which has been observed since its political conception in 1911, the designated month today celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere. It may not be demarcated as a cause for commemoration in our local calendars, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t sit up and celebrate anyway.

Local art gallery Utterly Art is throwing its own party. From Mar 1-17, the space on Mosque Street is bringing together 10 of its best female artists for an art show that’s as empowering as it is often lacking in the scene here. Utterly Women is the gallery’s first Women’s Day exhibition, and features all Singaporean and Singapore-based artists—with the exception of Gabby Malpas, a New Zealander based in Sydney.

According to co-founder Pwee Keng Hock, the decision to put the show together was spontaneous. But he easily rallied 10 female artists who had exhibited with Utterly Art in 2018. They range from second-generation artist Anna Lu, known for her distinct watercolour botanical art, to the ominous acrylic and charcoal works of Yen Chua—echoes of her different mental states and dreams; to India-born visual designer Zoya Chaudhary, whose magazine collages and print work highlight clear themes of gender and social class. Chaudhary’s Rebuilding the Female, for example, juxtaposes feminine physical imagery through a male lens with stronger, more empowering symbols—like a tigress in waiting.

While there is no one theme linking all the works together, some do explicitly comment on female and feminist issues. “In the end, it is a simple celebration of female empowerment in a field dominated by male artists for so long,” Pwee said.

“I would say Singapore might have reached gender parity in representation of female artists, but they may not be the most famous or ones that are sought after most, or reach the highest prices; and exhibitions like this enable them to say ‘we are here, we can be counted.’”

A preview of the works on show continues below.

Camellia sinensis, Anna Lu

Sunny Side Up (Club Street), Melissa Teo

Abundance, Tee Bee Tin

Balinese Night Garden, Gabby Malpas

Jetsunma, Yen Chua

Metamorphosis, Yen Chua

Rebuilding the Female, Zoya Chaudhary

Utterly Women takes place Mar 1-17 at Utterly Art LLP, Level 3, 20B Mosque Street. Viewings are strictly by appointment only at 9487 2006. More information here