Where are all the women in the street art scene?

As street art continues to go from strength-to-strength, a new exhibition aims to ensure that female artists aren’t left behind

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Crajes, "Spleen I", XX: A Moment In Time
"Spleen I"Courtesy of Crajes and The Saatchi Gallery

Cast your mind to the vibrant, confronting and fascinating world of street art; what names come to mind when you think of the artists dominating the scene? A man who needs no introduction, Banksy? Portuguese graffiti artist Vhils? Self-described ‘photograffeur' JR? Even newcomers like French photojournalism renegades the Dysturb collective? All respectable names bringing much-needed awareness to varying issues in their locations, and beyond – and yet, also all male.

Where are the women in the street art world? They’re definitely here, and The Saatchi Gallery are making it their mission to bring them to the forefront in an upcoming all-female show, XX: A Moment In Time – titled in honour of the XX chromosome and curated by Yasha Young and Olly Walker.

It’s exactly this reason – that you, even myself, can’t reel off more than a handful of female names – that an exhibition like this is a no-brainer.

“Street art has emerged as a significant art movement in recent years and yet there is a real danger that it may echo the gender imbalance seen in the wider world of contemporary art” – Paul Foster, Saatchi Gallery

"It is because street art feels dominated by men that it is important that a show like this takes place. Street art has emerged as a significant art movement in recent years and yet there is a real danger that it may echo the gender imbalance seen in the wider world of contemporary art,” Saatchi Gallery’s Paul Foster tells us. He adds that he feels street art is at a tipping point where galleries and auction house alike can push for real change in closing the gap between prices paid to women as well as the visibility of their work.

With a broad range of contemporary names pulled from both established and emerging talent pools – like veteran Faith47, crochet extraordinaire Olek and Australian artist Vexta, to name a few – the show announcement comes hot off the heels of the opening of Saatchi’s first all-female fronted show, Champagne Life, which opened last week.

"Each artist brings unique approach to the scene, a way of looking at street art that comes from having to fit in to what is the perceived norm,” explain Young and Walker explain. “Invention comes out of a struggle. The breadth of media employed, the diversity of ideas and the impact of the executions are stunning. It is a reminder of how good street art can be.”

XX: A Moment in Time will run from February 3 – 6 March, 2016. For more information, click here

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