History: Women in Art: Contemporary Global Society

Preview of version: 5


This module takes you around the globe and study women artists of the late-twentieth to twenty-first centuries. We examine art and identity and the international voices of women making art worldwide.

Consider this: What is the difference between migration and diaspora? Migration may be defined as "the movement of persons from one country or locality to another." Diaspora may be defined as "the forcing of any people or ethnic population to leave their traditional homelands, the dispersal of such people, and the ensuing developments in their culture." These two scenarios are important to a deeper understanding of the women artists and works we'll explore.


  • worlds together--worlds apart
  • international women artists
  • unusual methods and materials
  • crossing the cultural divides
  • personal visions, global concerns
  • anti-war art by women–Mona Hatoum, Doris Salcedo
  • Sheela Gowda–installation artist and political activist
  • Mella Jaarsma–social activist artist, "What it's like to wear another’s skin"


By end of this module, you should able to

  • List the women artists of these eras
  • recognize the styles produced within the eras and discuss about the influences
  • project where women artists are heading beyond post-modernism
  • discuss the zeitgeist of the times in a variety of regions outside of one’s own
  • examine the popular culture, craft, and decoration that characterize younger North American female artists today

Women in World History

In this section of Women in World History, international contemporary women artists and influential cultural issues are discussed.

Art in the 21st Century

Kara Walker (b. 1969)

Walker's work explores race and gender and the best-known examples are large-scale silhouettes. 

Alison Knowles (b. 1933)

  • Art in America:This article from Art in America magazine reviews the work of Alison Knowles, a contemporary artist working with assemblage--”hanging, vertical amalgamations of found objects; large, roughly rectangular forms of hand-molded paper pulp; and framed collections of personal items.”

Kim Berman

Sophie Peters

She paints from photographs and collages, creating fragmented portraits that display colorful shapes and patterns, often in a flat graphic style.

Jeannette Unite

A visual artist who works with hand-made chalk-based pastels, glass artworks, paintings, and prints.

Zhang Dun

Zhang Dun is a Chinese-born contemporary artist. She is one of the artists featured in this exhibition review in ArtAsiaPacific magazine. Her work features the decrepit structures of declining industries in Northeast China. While a potentially depressing subject matter, Zhang’s techniques and compositions lend quiet beauty to her fallen city.

Seher Shah

Shirin Neshat

Mithu Sen

Mithu Sen is another international contemporary artist featured in ArtAsiaPacific magazine. She lives and works near South New Delhi and has won the Skoda Prize for contemporary Indian art for her series of large mixed-media and watercolor drawings on paper. Visit the two links near the bottom left of the web page: “Where I Work” and “I Dig, I Look Down.”

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Sheela Gowda

Mella Jaarsma

Mella Jaarsma is Dutch born and studied art in Jakarta. She is known to use highly unusual materials in her art and tends to focus on social and political issues in Indonesian society. Images and text are included in this site.



There are several international artists/publishers web pages posted. Review these Internet resources, return here and respond to the instructions below: 

1. Select one work of art from the Week 7 International Resources links posted in Course Content. 

 2. Potential discussion topics: 

  • style 
  • symbolism 
  • identity 
  • diaspora 
  • personal concern of the artist
  • global vision of the artist
  • migration



Information Version
2019-11-07 15:49 SCantor
added proper links for Gowda and Hatoum, deleted bios/links for white artists as well as Zhang, Sha, Sen, Ukeles (links either not working, no suitable replacements found)
2019-11-07 15:37 SCantor Added Mutu, Mehretu, Kusama, Mayer, Salcedo, Hashmi. 7
2019-11-07 14:53 SCantor Added Alison Saar, fixed link for Neshat, added Houshiary, Essaydi 6
2019-11-07 14:20 SCantor Updated links to new tabs, added link to Walker's bio, changed link to Sugar Baby (NYT is not open access) 5
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