“The Hero She Needed,” which opened at Arushi Gallery in Los Angeles this weekend, comprises only women artists, showing the works of Uzo Njoku, Naila Opiangah, Michelle Okpare, Yool Kim, Nina Satie, Crystal Yayra Anthony, Lindsay Dawn, Sophie Kipner, Alli Conrad, Zeinab Diomande, and Eloisa Ballivian. Curated by Arushi Kapoor and Tina Tangalaki, the show features works that aim to recognize influential female figures who have impacted their lives. This collection of works is a powerful testament to the strength of women working together in a society that often pits women against each other. Each woman artist featured in the show was asked to create three pieces of work representing a time when a woman helped guide them in their journey toward success.
Alli Conrad is a Chinese-American contemporary artist and muralist. Her work delves into historical eras, exploring history through the lens of modern-day society. Female subjects feature as central characters in her works, often appearing as faceless characters, allowing the
viewer to create their narrative for the characters they see in her paintings. “San Vincente Powers,” “Her Ace and the Ruby Girl” these works all represent women with both a sense of power and a sense of mystique that hide behind their faceless profiles.
Lindsay Dawn, another artist in the exhibit, is a self-taught artist who uses the female body as the focal point of her work. She explores the human experience beyond the physical form, delving into the subconscious mind to create a conversation centered on the ideas of connection, attachment, and the polarity of life and death. She explores nostalgia, femininity, and the vast notion of existence. Her work translates the presence of timelessness within culture, society, spirituality, and the natural world.
Nigerian expressionist Michelle Okpare draws upon her experiences exploring the subjects of culture, mental health, personal and societal
identity, and issues surrounding gender in contemporary African society, one she knows all too well. The experience of today’s African woman is central to her process. Using her art as a therapy for her own experiences, she delves into the unrealistic beauty standards
placed on women in today’s society, especially African women. Her childhood in the Ivory Coast also makes an impact on her artwork. “I Owe Myself an Uprising” and “Self-Awareness” both represent the strength and struggles of today’s women.
California native Sophie Kipner is a painter of great depth. Her ongoing project, “DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN” has been receiving great acclaim. In her work, Kipner primarily uses blind contouring—the technique of not lifting the pen or looking at the canvas to draw her subjects. “Rebirth,” “TwoGether,” and “Great” – her contributions to the exhibit– focus on the female form and the joining of women.
The works on view are powerful, thought-provoking, and empowering. To further celebrate the power of the female, Arushi Gallery has teamed up with UNICEF to bring awareness to their “Equity for Girls” program. 100% of proceeds from select artwork will go directly to UNICEF.