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'Women in Revolt!' at Tate Modern

‘Oh bondage! up yours!’

Accessing the archives of crucial and trailblazing feminist artwork throughout has historically posed a challenge. But luckily for us, the Tate has rolled up their sleeves and acccepted this dilemma.

Announcing their new exhibition “Women in Revolt!”, the Tate Modern seeks to amplify the voices of those who broke free from the confines of societal constructs. The exhibition features 100 female artists from between 1970 and 1990 – AKA through second-wave feminism into the beginnings of third – whose artwork actively opposed oppression and promoted equality. exploring how these artists revolutionised perceptions of womanhood by engaging in subcultures that denied traditional attitudes, subverted gender norms, and embraced both the unfeminine and hypersexual. The collection also features iconic photography that captures the explosive punk, post-punk, and alternative scenes featuring female-led groups such as The Slits and Gina Birch from The Raincoats. These artists served as trailblazers for female expression in a society that marginalised women as second-class citizens and imposed rigid identities and cultural expectations. In the words of the legendary punk rocker Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex:

“Some people believe that little girls should be seen and not heard, but I say, ‘Oh bondage! up yours!’

Make sure to catch this exhibition to experience the work of some of the most influential feminist artists’ from within counter-culture.

Words by Dexter Burningham
Images courtesy of the Tate Modern