Women, a Glimmer of Hope in Face of 2020

Four You Gallery
January 15, 2021| Diane Young

Easily one of the worst years to a whole generation, 2020 has been a challenging adventure and it’s good to see it gone. We’re sparing you the “time is a construct” jargon and genuinely putting all our hopes into a 2021 where the button switches and everything is, all of sudden, better and happier. Despite all its disasters, 2020 proved one thing, the human drive to create never stops. happiness we create art, but even more so in tough times, in pandemics and in tragedies. Heidi Ukkonen is proof of that in her exhibition Hide and Seek, where she reflects on 2020 and the worldly happenings that marked the year. As 2020 comes to an end, we look back at 15 women, from different disciplines, who managed to leave a mark in a year where we creativity was not at its highest.

Starting off, a list of 5 artists who pushed their boundaries in 2020.

Simone Leigh
With her grandiose ceramic sculptures, Leigh tells the story of Black women shedding light on the importance of their work and how essential it is to building a community.
Calida Rawles
Experimenting with the cross section between womanhood, blackness and the myth of America, Calida Rawles’ hyperreal paintings became more relevant and timelier with the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Calida Rawles, Lightness of Being

Julie Mehretu
A theme the Ethiopian-born artist explored often the past year is sites of protests. She describes her pieces as “story maps of no location.”
Zanele Muholi
This South African photographer challenged the societal expectations associated with the LGBTQ+ community and portrayed them not as victims rather as independent and confident figures.

Zanele Muholi, Yaya Mavundla II, Parktown, Johannesburg

Cao Fei
Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, this Chinese artist has built one of the most prominent names in the country’s history. Fei’s works focus on analyzing pop culture, technology and urban development.

Female directors have also managed to put out incredible work in the film scene. 5 women-directed films that made 2020 a bit more bearable:

Nomadland, dir. Chloe Zhao
A soul-searching story that follows a woman who lost everything trying to pick herself up.

Nomadland (2020)

Never Rarely Sometimes Always, dir. Eliza Hittman
A film that examines pregnancy and abortion and the journey in between.
One Night in Miami, dir. Regina King
Powerhouse actress, Regina King, finds herself directing a stellar film on key figures in America’s civil rights movement in 1984.
First Cow, dir. Kelly Reichardt
Two travelers, vengeful hunters and the hope in a savior cow.
The Assistant, dir. Kitty Green
After the Me Too campaign that took Hollywood by storm, The Assistant retells the story of the Weinstein scandal.

The Assistant (2020)

Music, still one of the most prominent forms of expression, also saw releases by talented artists.

Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers
With her second studio album, Phoebe Bridgers furthers herself as an artist of truth and honesty. She recreates moments in her music, moments where you’re “at peace with the end of the world.”


Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple
Recorded over the span of 5 years, the album couldn’t have been released at a better time. With a title already so telling, people, in lockdown for months, found some freedom in Apple’s music.
WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 by Yaeji
With her signature voice, ambiguous lyrics and synthy sound, Yaeji’s What We Drew came to add some uplifting hope in a dull time.
Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM
We already loved this from the title! HAIM’s third album concretized their talent as songwriters with much charisma in the lyrics.

Women in Music Pt. III

Workaround by Beatrice Dillon
Fusing techno with live instrumental music set this album apart and made it one of 2020’s most interesting listens.

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