#YWomenSpecial: Painter, Clara Aden speaks on how she’s using art as a voice to close the gender gap

In celebration of the #InternationalWomensDay2020, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Harriet Thompson hosted at her residence, a reception and exhibition featuring works by women in the art space. We took time out to speak to some of these amazons about their work and the celebrations:

 

Clara Aden

Tell us a bit about your self as an artist:

I’m Clara Aden a passionate painter known for my mind-blowing pencils drawings. I studied Painting and Decorating at Federal Science Technical College, Yaba.

Realism is the main feature of my practice. My works are precise, detailed and thought-provoking. My works take a critical look at the social, political and cultural issues with profound emphasis on female gender identity.

What is the concept behind your work?

“Close the gap” is the first artwork l have painted with words. Every words on the canvas describes, expresses and acknowledge two names that have empowered me and other women artists to emerge from invisibility and close the gap in the arts world. Dr. Nike Okundaye and Prof. Bridget Nwanze are the inspiration behind the work. These two iconic women have accomplished the impossible task of erasing the bias against young women artists, literally taking them out of the streets and hidden corners of the city to install them at the art of the exhibition.

‘Close the Gap’ is a typography work of art that joins the power of word and painting to bring closure to inequality by means of an extraordinary act.  It borrows the power of realism to give birth to a figure, a tough and agonizing work of creation, avoiding the use of portraiture. I have decided to push the boundary of my art by painting with words, to let my figures speak and let my speech imagine a world where all differences and inequality are abolished for the sake of justice.

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman to me means loving and accepting who l am. The flaws and all. Being a woman means to be strong and trust my instincts. Being a woman is a complex job in the world. Many responsibilities are there to fulfill. I enjoy being a woman and l will never trade it for anything less.

What does it feel like being a woman in the art space?

I grew up in a country where a female child exploring the world is seen as usual or peculiar. Being a woman in the art space has its ups and downs. It is very tough and challenging, especially in a world dominated by the male signature on art. I have tried to continue my practice and to see all challenges as motivation to do more in the art world.

What is your message to women on this celebration of international women’s day?

Happy International Women’s Day! Let us continue to blow our trumpets, raise our voices until the gender gap is closed and our voices bring closure to inequalities and live in a world where all differences and inequalities are abolished for the sake of justice.

 

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