Over recent years, the world has seen growing moves to right inequalities around aspects of identity such as gender, race, ethnicity, and beliefs, and move towards greater diversity. In contemporary art for the past decade or so, attention has turned increasingly to female artists who began their contemporary art careers between the 1950s and 1970s and continue to stay active as artists today.
Japan’s Mori Art gallery has collaborated with artists and galleries across the world to produce Another Energy, an exhibition that focuses on 16 female artists in their 70s or older, who continue to embark on new challenges. Artists are ranging in ages from 71 to 105 with their careers spanning over 50 years, and across 14 different countries, this exhibition is a powerful and exciting one.
Work by Masterton-based artist Dame Robin White is included in this exhibition. Aratoi, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History loaned Robin White’s twelve-panel 2001 painting Summer Grass for the duration of the show. Her work is an oil on wallpaper artwork, in collaboration with calligrapher Keiko Iimura, in 2001.
Summer Grass commemorates a tragic event in the Wairarapa during World War II. On 25 February 1943, 48 Japanese men were killed in a clash with guards at a prisoner-of-war camp in Featherston.
Wanting to know more, White studied the art made by the Japanese held at Featherston Museum, seeing it as a portal to the past – a way to look ‘through the eyes and thoughts of the men imprisoned there.’
Summer Grass evokes the heat of a Wairarapa summer, a golden, sun-bleached landscape, with a native falcon surveying the remains of the camp from above. At six metres in length, it is a painting to walk by and reflect on; a lament for the Japanese soldiers who died so far from home, and a poetic meditation on our relationship to the past.
The exhibition Another Energy, displays a wide array of works from paintings, video, sculptures, to large-scale installations and performances, with about 130 works to total. The exhibition contemplates the nature of the special strength or what one may call the driving force - “another energy” - of these female artists.
We are thrilled that Robin White has been selected for this groundbreaking show and that her work represents the Wairarapa and our local history.
The exhibition, Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging - 16 Women Artists from around the World, is currently showing 22 April 2021 – 26 September 2021.
Find out more about the exhibition by following this link: https://www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/anotherenergy/index.html