To be able to share the story and create the impact envisioned I will create an exhibition stand. The research and design will be shared on the walls and in the middle the floor will show withered flowers and new flowers blossoming from the withered remains. 

There will be different sections in the exhibition with the following texts:

Section 1

Fragile fertilization

Petals need to fall for new flowers to blossom.

A print of Gesina ter Borch with text:

How does the work of great historic female artists, like Gesina ter Borch’s (1631-1690) drawings, still influence the future of female artists?

Historic sidelining of work of female artists still sidelines the work of contemporary female artists in Dutch art institutions.

Restricted from the workshops to work as artists, far into the 17th century, women could not create art unless a man in their direct surroundings provided them access to material and education. This restricted the number of women that could devote themselves to making art greatly.

Also, important subjects such as religious topics were off limit for female artists, leaving subjects of lower importance such as still life for them to work with. As a result, stamina and devotion was required by the women and their work was hardly ever exhibited to the public.  

Section 2

A print of Rachel Ruysch

Do you recognize this painting?

Do you know who made this painting?

Many might recognize this image yet fail to name the artist. Only the past few years recognition is regained for the few women that did manage to break down boundaries of being an artist. Rachel Ruysch’s (1664 – 1750) flower paintings for example, were highly respected and often sold for more in her lifetime than Rembrandt’s (1606 – 1669) did in his.  Despite this appreciation her work was only added to the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum in 2021.

It is stated that it is harder to show historic work made by women in great retrospectives due to the limited amount of work and the fragile material they have used. The historic undervaluation and representation of female artists is still reflected in that of contemporary female artists.

Her floral compositions are a reminder that beauty fades and all living things will die in a natural circle of life. Captured in full bloom the flowers will wither and show decay soon.

Section 3:

General to installation

Public visibility is an important factor in the valuation and price setting of art. The impact of this lack of visibility is that the pattern of undervaluation of women’s work is not broken.

Even today work made by women is still underrepresented at Dutch art institutes like galleries, musea and exhibitions. This lack of representation feeds into the price setting and assumed future value of the work.

A difference can only be realized if patterns are changed, and unconscious assumptions are overruled by conscious actions. Dutch art institutions and art buyers must be increasingly aware of the impact of the art works they buy in the representation of female artists.

This work shows flowers, made of fragile paper. Paper because that of Gesina ter Borch is deemed too fragile to show in a grant way. The flowers because Rachel Ruysch was among the first women to gain recognition for her work and the symbolism in her paintings around greed, and the natural circle of life.

Colors will fade over time; petals will be falling and turn into compost to give way to future flowers blossoming.

Despite growing awareness and initiatives in support of women artists the public visibility is still low. This requires a call for action. Not to focus on the historic process of decay but to see it as a way of fertilizing future flowers. It is about flourishing, not fragility.


The fragile history will fertilize future flowers to flourish.


Starting a movement

To embed the change, the paper flower serves as a symbol of the fragility of the work made by female artists and serves as a reminder of the conscious actions required to make a change in representation and appreciation.  

As a token of change and to support increased visibility for women artists you can wear the paper flower “daisy”. 



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