The AWITA Journal is a regularly-updated platform, listing unique and original content that we hope is of interest to both members and friends of AWITA. We are delighted to highlight AWITA members on our journal, as well as weekly reading recommendations and highlights of the collection of the New Hall Collection. The New Hall Art Collection is a permanent collection of modern and contemporary art by women at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.




Tell us about a woman, well-known or not whom you admire and why. 
"Since I was in my twenties, a woman who has always inspired me is Simone de Beauvoir. Her autobiography, in various chapters and different novels, has always been a reference for me. She is a pioneer, a lucid feminist voice, an intellectual who lived her professional and personal life constantly challenging her peers’ assumptions and society’s limitations.More than anything, she advocated very early that a woman should be financially independent - to be heard, to be confident, to be fully engaged with herself. And I fully agree with this."

Giovanna Bertazzoni_Degas sculpture.jpg

Which 3 qualities do you think one must have to succeed?  
"I believe to succeed in the art world, one needs: energy, resilience and intellectual curiosity. Energy is essential: one is constantly travelling, running to meetings, changing cities and cultures, injecting dynamism into teams, pushing to close deals. It is absolutely fundamental to always be hungry, to be excited to jump on a plane at a minute’s notice, to never tire of exhibitions, openings, fairs, opportunities to discover new art. Energy means also ‘social energy’: the eagerness to meet and get to know people, to hear their stories, their passions, and be happy to share our own, to be open and receptive.Resilience is fundamental to accept the inevitable set-backs that come with such an intense profession. One has to be balanced, and have a strong sense of self - of one’s limits and ambitions, simultaneously. Especially as a woman in such a man’s world, resilience is needed to gain perspective, to live a career as a marathon and not a sprint, constantly fighting back , never giving up.Intellectual curiosity is the engine that keeps us going. The feeling of never knowing it all, to be constantly learning, to represent one culture amongst million, to be eager to learn about the other million... this feeling is what still motivates me at 50, after 26 years in the art world."

Which female artist, living or dead, would you invite to a fantasy dinner party and why? 
"The female artist I would like to invite to a fantasy dinner party is Berthe Morisot, the most important female artist in the Impressionist group. A woman of incredible charm and complexity, a very accomplished artist, an intellectual with the sharpest mind, who had to fight the conventions of the milieu she grew up in, in fin de siecle Paris. She was the closest friend of Degas, the model of Manet, the wife of Manet’s brother: she moved in this world of men as a confident, independent artist, developing her own style, pushing boundaries, depicting her women friends and herself as they struggled to find a balance between breaking all connections with society, and still belonging to the bourgeoisie. And she remained true to herself - as the wonderful portraits of Manet reveal, catching a woman full of contradictions, perplexities and ambitions."

- Giovanna Bertazzoni, Co-Chairman of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s

Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?

Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "We Should All Be Feminists" is our read of the week.






If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be? 
"Follow your passion." 

What are you excited about right now? 
"I am really excited about the next show I am curating in November at the Hannah Barry Gallery, featuring the work of two fantastic young female artists, Lindsey Mendick and Paloma Proudfoot. Save the date - 7th November!"

Which female artist, living or dead, would you invite to a fantasy dinner party and why? 
"I would invite Hannah Wilke as she was a pioneering artist who created feminist' body works from the early 1960s that weren't properly recognised as such until decades later. I think we would have a lot to talk about as she was very outspoken, always defending her work that was radical at the time, and I am a big fan of her embodied narcissistic subjectivity as an artist."

- Marcelle Joseph, Director & Curator, Marcelle Joseph Projects



The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.” Our reading recommendation this week is Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique", which was first published in 1963. The landmark book is credited with helping kick-start the second wave of feminism that swept across the US and the rest of the globe in the 1960s. In the book, Friedan coined the term feminine mystique to describe the societal assumption that women could find fulfillment through housework, marriage, sexual passivity, and child rearing alone.





Our read of the week is Georgina Adam's "Dark Side of The Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market in the 21st Century". This book scrutinizes the excesses and extravagances that the 21st-century explosion of the contemporary art market brought in its wake. With the same captivating style of her bestselling “Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century”, Georgina Adam casts her judicious glance over a section of the art market whose controversies and intrigues will be of eye-opening interest to both art-world players and observers.




If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
"Worry less about what other people think. It is your journey and the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and follow your dream. Anything is possible if you want it enough."

What are you excited about right now?
"I'm expecting my first child in August. Running a business and planning a family is a challenge, and one that I am excited to embark on."

What advice would you give to women starting in the art world?
"Don't be afraid to take a few risks along the way, and expect a few bumps in the road before you reach a place where you feel confident that you are making the right decisions. The art world can be very fickle and incredibly competitive, so surround yourself with a strong network of people that will help you along the way."

- Jemma Hickman, Founding Director, bo.lee gallery