The problem of gender inequality has long been an issue, concerning many industries. Men have always been and are still regarded as ones being better than women. Better and more capable socially and as workers. To battle this biased and unfair consideration, a lot of feminists have teamed up to bring some actions that would assert – women are capable of maintaining the equality in society.

Valeria Napoleone

When you hear the words “gender imbalance”, you probably first think of this issue in terms of workplaces, families and simply the relationship towards and between the two genders. I will probably surprise you if I say that gender inequality has risen significantly in the world of art. The matter is – some artists are considered more important than others, because gender is used as a single criterion. Some artists are given more recognition and support than others – again, because they are evaluated by their sex. Male artists are dominating the industry of art today. How many names of female artists can you recall?

Fortunately, the problem of ignorance of women’ art works has been given a go. Valeria Napoleone, an Italian-born esteemed art collector, has her own and totally unique approach to fighting the gender imbalance. How did she find herself there and what drives her towards supporting the emerging female artists? Let us a have a closer look.

 

The Story Behind

Valeria Napoleone

Now Valeria Napoleone is the leading collector of works by female artists. It all started in late 90s’, when she completed her Master degree in Art Gallery Administration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She soon realized her passion towards the contemporary art and spent much time visiting Williamsburg, where she met and talked with the modern artists. Everything twisted when Napoleone bought a black-and-white photo of ‘abstract bubbles’ by Carol Shadford – each bubble contained an image of different women inside. The connection between Valeria and the photo was inexplicable. It was that moment when she decided to create a collection of female artists’ works.

Valeria Napoleone

 

Why would she collect the works of women artists? For Napoleone, art is undoubtedly something special. As she recalls, she developed a flair for beautiful art things from her parents, who were buying Italian antiques. Today, her Kensington apartment is filled with works of both renowned and young, emerging female artists like Lily Van der Stokker, Goshka Macuga, Guan Xiou, Monica Bonvicini, Elaine Lustig Cohen and Guerrilla Girls. However, Valeria’s purpose and drive does not lie in solely collecting the famous names and works under her roof; her aspiration is rather to present the works of female artists to even out the gender inequality in the artistic world. “It [the collection] is not meant to be a representational overview of women practices nowadays nor a collection of acclaimed names. What continues to drive me is meeting talented people, learning about new and exciting practices and offering my support to artists that are overlooked”says Valeria.

 

Support From Live Perspective

Valeria Napoleone

The underrepresentation of female artists in public institutions and commercial galleries is the reason Napoleone is so assertive in her striving to equalize the recognition and support of male and female artists. Her home collection is not the highest high: Napoleone fulfills the position of business development manager at Studio Voltaire in London, where they aim at supporting the emerging artists and giving them a chance to get to expand their practice. Valeria has also recently launched Valeria Napoleone XX, which assists in bringing female art works to museums in UK and US. This project is split into two initiatives – Sculpture Center and Contemporary Art Society, both of which help Napoleone keep up her relationship with institutions while working on blurring the borders between men and women arts representations.

 

Is Artistic World Bound To Be Shaken?

Valeria Napoleone

“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” – states Valeria Napoleone. With the creation and constant development of her private collection, Napoleone proves to have something very solid on her mind. It is not an act of feminism to fight for women rights in the modern world – it is a huge endeavor to support the career paths that others fail to recognize, it is a call to society to support the overlooked talents of the art world.

Valeria Napoleone

Napoleone’s passion towards art is all kinds of spellbinding – so is her enthusiasm for young and talented female artists. For Valeria, art is all about people and relationships, and she does her incredible work connecting women who deserve representation. Her natural excitement for new art works together with her strong aspiration to make female artists become an honored part of the art world is truly something to change the current social compass.

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