Five Indigenous Women Artists in Annals of Time

Women artists around the world who have interwoven race, identity and gender into creating masterpieces 

Narratives of indigenous artists are often muted or drowned into cacophonies of the dominant races. The discrimination is more felt among women artists who perceive art as a medium to document, portray and honour race, lived experienced and ancestral; lineage. A list of five women artists to read about.

Judhaiya Bai Baiga: Baiga belongs to a tribal community in Madhya Pradesh, India, and has sent her artworks to renowened exhibitions in Italy. Even being a septuagenarian could not daunt Baiga to take up a new passion. After Baiga enrolled herself in a local art school, she mastered the brushstrokes to immortalise India’s diverse cultural and traditions on the brink of extinction.

Jamie Okuma: As a visual artist and fashion designer from Native America, Okuma’s artworks vividly portray the Native American culture and tradition. Perhaps the most exquisite feature of Okuma’s artworks is their wearability– a strong symbol of Okuma’s original intention to prevent her roots from getting submerged by colonisers’ narratives.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye: One of the most revered and critically acclaimed indigenous women artists from Australia, Kngwarreye has a repository of intricate art pieces pivoted around aboriginal ancestries, their narratives and history behind traditional rituals. Founder of Utopia Women’s Batik Group, during her lifetime, Kngwarreye had served as a cultural ambassador by the veracity of her storytelling skill through stylistic practice of layered hues.

Wendy Red Star: Indigenous to Native America, Star’s consciousness is shaped by the various mediums of art: sculpture, performance, photography and fibre art. In her artworks, Star aspires to weave historical narratives from her personal archive of research. A distinguishable aspect of her artwork is wit beside the matrilineal society of Crow Nation. Today, her readers are offered a window to Crow’s tradition and how it assimilates women’s identity. Star’s wide-scale acknowledgment among artists is a staunch rebuke to the generally accepted fact that identity-based artwork has perished.

Portia Zvavahera: An African, indigenous woman artist, Zvavahera’s masterpieces take inspiration from dreams that she fervently jots down on a sketchbook. Her artworks are surreal, introspective and dig into the hearts of faceless humans. Besides, Zvavahera’s art also narrates her personal experiences of racism and alienation. To Zvavahera, art is a process to heal from moments of agonies she has suffered being a woman of colour.

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