Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Art is political

January 31st, 2017

Art and art-making can be powerful tools for change. One of our newest courses for adults, Art-making Inspired by Feminist Ideas, looks at the creative process through a feminist lens, providing students the opportunity to discover artists whose works exemplify feminist strategies and to explore ideas that help inform and communicate a sense of identity. The class is open to participants of all genders.

Aleks Bartosik. Photo by Crystal Lee.

The AGO talked to instructor and artist Aleks Bartosik to learn more about the class and hear about her own feminist inspiration.

AGO: What is this class all about?

Aleks: This class is new to me and I’m excited to be facilitating it. We will look at paper work, text work, painting, found object work, and perhaps even performance – if students are willing! We will be making ‘zines and statements using found objects, as well as nude painting and drawing. Students will be encouraged to use whatever mode and medium they desire to express themselves.

Bartosik, Aleks. she was not his venus in furs. Acrylic, conté, pencil, oil on canvas. 48 x 48”. 2007. Courtesy of the artist.

AGO: Who are some key feminist artists that you connect with personally?

Aleks: I connect best with figurative painters: Marlene Dumas, Jenny Saville and Julie Oakes. They work hard to achieve their goals and really push the boundaries of painting and drawing. It’s not just about the discussion of the “feminine” and identity, but the act of painting that I identify with. Pam Patterson and Suzy Lake grab me with topics about identity and power dynamics that I also explore in my own work.

AGO: What do you hope participants in this class walk away with?

Aleks: I always hope, in whatever class I teach at the AGO, that my students walk away with a sense of achievement or self-expression. I hope to open windows for engagement and discussion about art, and in this class, a dialogue that will inspire change towards what feminism is all about – ending sexism and oppression. Art-making is just one of many forms of working towards change to end oppression, and I hope my students will find something in their creations to spark that conversation for them.

Art-making Inspired by Feminist Ideas runs from February 6 to March 6. Did you know that AGO Members get a discount on art classes? Check out our website for more information.

Are you an AGOinsider yet? If not, sign up to have stories like these delivered straight to your inbox every week.

This article has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Comments are closed.