Art on the Underground to mark centenary with year of women artists

18 December 2017

A massive London-wide exhibition of work by women artists will run across the capital in 2018 to celebrate 100 years since the first women won the right to vote in the UK, as part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new gender equality campaign, #BehindEveryGreatCity.

For the first time Art on the Underground, Transport for London’s public art programme, has commissioned a year of work exclusively by women artists, to celebrate the centenary.

The artworks will be visible across the city, at street-level on billboards at Brixton and Southwark, on the cover of over 25 million Tube maps specially designed by Romanian artist Geta Brătescu and French artist Marie Jacotey, and in an ambitious sculptural project on a disused platform at Gloucester Road Station by British artist Heather Phillipson.

With almost six million journeys taken on London Underground each day, the 2018 Art on the Underground programme is designed to bring women’s art to the forefront of public space and help to address structural gender imbalance within the public arts. 

“The spaces of our cities are not neutral, and neither is space afforded to public art. Wider social inequalities are played out in the structures of urban life,” said Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground.

“Through 2018, Art on the Underground will use its series of commissions to reframe public space, to allow artists’ voices of diverse backgrounds and generations to underline the message that there is no single women’s voice in art – there are however many urgent voices that can challenge the city’s structures of male power,” she said. 

The Mayor’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign will see a programme of events run throughout 2018 to celebrate the women from all walks of life who have contributed to making London great.

The campaign will begin just before the New Year, with 12 months of events and activities to celebrate London’s history in the gender equality movement, highlighting the major strides that have been made and raising awareness of the barriers that still exist for women.

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