Last week’s International Women’s Day heralded the dawn of a new temporary exhibition in the Images of Nature gallery at the Natural History Museum (London, UK). All year round this exhibition space displays art works from its extensive (apparently over half a million pieces are held here) and eminent botanical and zoological collections. Some of it dates back centuries and is no doubt ensconced in our colonial history of pillage and rule. However, that aside, they have some pretty good stuff and now they are focusing specifically on women artists from their archives, which makes it even better!
Women get a tough deal in the arts, even today it is dominated by men, with female created art works making up a small percentage of those that are displayed in museums and galleries. In the past it was even worse. So it is pleasing to see the Natural History Museum in some small way try to redress the balance.
Natural history art, what it looked like in the 18th Century, what it looks like now, and how it developed in between, is also explored through this exhibition space. Whereas once drawings and painting were the modus operandi of this science supporting art form, the permanent exhibition shows how today other imaging techniques such as electron microscopes, micro-CT, X-ray scanners as well as photography are all employed.
The women’s temporary exhibition runs until July 2015 (please see comment below).