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The Fantastic Four Breaking Barriers in Modern Art

In the past few weeks, in-between my busy schedule, I revisited my love for art and discovered a couple of significant artists. It wasn’t so much about the techniques or the textural elements but more about starting a conversation on conscious art and the backstories we don’t hear often.

I began my journey, as though I were a virtual curator scouting through the internet, reading articles, stringing together all the fragmented pieces of information I could find. Gone were those days, the luxury of strolling into Tate Modern on one of those bright Sunday afternoons you rarely get in London. Since I returned to Lagos, I’ve held onto my last vivid impressions of Centre Pompidou and the Versailles in Paris, it was a cosmic encounter as if Bach’s allegro notes and Jackson Pollock’s strokes had hit me, an excitement that could not be contained.

Art created not so much with purpose but by instinctive emotions, only the artist can express is something we’ve all been drawn to capturing our imagination. However, when it comes to naming these artists, how many female artists have we mentioned or are fond of? I for one, I am guilty of this as there have been countless times I have mentioned Picasso as one of my inspirations. Which is not a bad thing, because Frida Kahlo comes up next on my list. This could be partly due to what I was exposed to growing up, books and documentaries of the great artists in 20th century, predominantly male, were often mentioned. It wasn’t until my 3rd year in university that I discovered Frida Kahlo. I instinctively related to every aspect of her art and it struck a chord in my explorations between art and fashion.

We look at a narrative change of women in their echelons who play leading roles that drive intelligence and passion through a visual and cultural dialogue.

Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, USA

Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, USA


By 1988 Thelma Golden, became the first black curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The only black curator to lead The Whitney Biennial of 1993. Now in her 10th year as Director and Chief Curator at contemporary art institution, Studio Museum in Harlem, she has expanded the museum’s visitors by 27%  and led critically acclaimed exhibitions which have showcased the likes of Chris Ofili and Kehinde Wiley.

Photo by Inez and Vinoodh

Photo by Inez and Vinoodh

This year, Sotheby acquired Art Agency, Partners for up to $85 million. An art agency founded by top art adviser Amy Cappellazzo who spent 13 years as chairwoman postwar and contemporary department at Christie’s. As a private art adviser, her role is to consult and offer her expertise in building notable art-related collections through private purchases and sales for clients in the art world.

Yuko Hasegawa

Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Professor at Tama Art University in Tokyo, once described curating as a knowledgeable shepherd who gives free rein to his/her animals while being fully aware of when and how to protect them from any danger. A seasoned curator on architectural designs and avant-garde collections, she’s one of the world’s foremost curators.

Valeria Napoleone

Valeria Napoleone, an art collector recently launched one of her biggest projects, Valeria Napoleone XX, a platform that embraces women artists in contemporary art who are often underrepresented. In an interview with AnOther magazine, Valeria said; “This is not just about women, it is about dismissing incredible talent. Art history belongs to everybody, it’s not just a society made out of Caucasian males”
Today’s demographic shift presents these successful women as authoritative figures in art, a combination of commitment, curatorial eye and expertise in the rapidly changing art market.


Kate Williams obtained her MA in Fashion at University of East London. Based in Lagos, she is an artist and designer mostly enthused by minimalist ideas with a passion for conscious art. Follow along on Instagram @artdevttoire


In this article:
Valeria Napoleone
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