Women in Focus at National Museum Cardiff

17 May 2018

Exhibitions

A new exhibition at National Museum Cardiff explores the role of women in photography, both as producers and subjects of images. Women in Focus is a yearlong exhibition which draws on works from Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales’ photographic collections.

The exhibition comprises two parts Women in Focus: Behind the Lens, which opens 5th May until 11th November 2018, celebrates the role and contribution of women throughout the history of photography, from the first pioneering woman photographers in Wales, Mary Dillwyn and Thereza Mary Dillwyn Llewelyn, to emerging contemporary practitioners including Chloe Dewe Mathews, Bieke Depoorter and Clémentine Schneidermann.

Women In Focus: In Front of the Lens, opening 1st December – 9th June 2019, explores the representation of women as subjects in photography, from intimate and playful nineteenth-century staged family portraits by John Dillwyn Llewelyn and Robert Thompson Crawshay, to more contemporary depictions that capture the innate beauty of womanhood. The second part also seeks to examine how photography has been used to mis-represent women through direct or indirect objectification, an issue that has particular currency in today’s climate.

The photographs in this exhibition are from a variety of disciplines but all come from unique, female perspectives beginning with early studies of nature and landscape by pioneering Welsh photographers, Mary Dillwyn and Thereza Mary Dillwyn Llewelyn. Subsequently, the sensitive documentation of everyday life, people and events in the work of Eve Arnold, Susan Meiselas and Newsha Tavakolian conveys a heightened awareness and understanding of the subject matter. Finally, the intimate portraiture of Siân Davey, Lisa Barnard and Clémentine Schneidermann offers unique insights into womanhood, from pregnancy, birth and motherhood, through to childhood, puberty and adolescence.

Janice Lane, Director of Gallery Development and Visitor Experience for Amgueddfa Cymru, said:

“To mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, we’re celebrating women in our photography gallery for the next twelve months.

“Women have been active adopters and practitioners of photography since it was invented in 1839. Historically, their work has not been as broadly supported, accessed and understood as that of their male counterparts.

“In keeping with his tradition of swapping prints, Women in Focus: Behind the Lens features a number of recent acquisitions which David Hurn has donated to the Museum. This has had a significant impact on the representation of women artists and photographers in the photographic collections and we’re very grateful for his exceptional donations.”


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Picture copyright: Diana Markosian / Magnum Photos. A mother and child in Ville Bonheur, Haiti, bathe in the sacred Saut d’Eau falls.