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Arts + Lifestyle

The Most Exciting Emerging Female Artists Of 2022


Contemporary female artists are making waves in the art world today, readdressing the gender imbalance that has dominated art history for far too long. Here are 10 emerging female artists to keep on your radar.

1. Somaya Critchlow

British artist Somaya Critchlows small-scale paintings of voluptuous, scantily-clad women possess an uncanny, seductive power. Appearing in darkened, secret spaces, often gazing directly at the viewer, her subjects are defiant and self-possessed, challenging art historical perspectives of the female nude. Her solo show, Afternoons Darkness, is at Maximillian William until 19 November. 



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2. Soheila Sokhanvari

Soheila Sokhanvari’s first institutional solo exhibition sees the Barbican’s Curve gallery transformed into a devotional space, or what the artist describes as a ‘temple’ for the forgotten feminist icons of pre-revolutionary Iran. Drawing on what limited archival imagery she can source, her highly detailed miniatures reimagine women such as the film star Katayoun Amir Ebrahimi in surreal settings characterised via a kaleidoscopic fusion of colours and patterns. Though often engaging with dark subject matter and dubious political histories, her work is filled with beauty and hope.


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A post shared by Soheila Sokhanvari (@soheila_sokhanvari_)

3. Holly Stevenson

For the last six years, Holly Stevenson has been creating playful and uncanny ceramics inspired by Freud’s favourite ashtray and last cigar. Her sculptures embody these objects as though they were gendered forms – the ovular dish representing the female and the cylindrical cigar the male – which she habitually remakes, inventing new dialogues that are at once seductive and unsettling. In November, her work will be exhibited in JW Anderson’s flagship store in Soho, London as part of the fashion brand’s collaboration with AWITA (Association of Women in the Arts).


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A post shared by Holly Stevenson (@holly__stevenson)

4. Caroline Walker

Caroline Walker’s first solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman gallery earlier this year was one of the most talked about (and Instagrammed) shows in London. The show presented a body of work born from the artist’s intimate observations of her sister-in-law Lisa’s life from, four weeks before she gave birth until the baby reached three months old. Walker’s highly cinematic paintings vividly capture the intimacies, dramas, and loneliness of everyday life, typically from a woman’s perspective. Her other series have depicted her mother going about everyday tasks, and the staff of the maternity wing at University College Hospital.


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A post shared by Caroline Walker (@carolinewalkerartist)

5. Shawanda Corbett

If you haven’t heard of Shawanda Corbett yet, you probably will soon. The Mississippi-born, UK-based artist draws on personal experiences of disability to examine perceptions of the body and identity through a multidisciplinary practice that spans performance, dance, music, film, and ceramics. Her first solo exhibition in the US, ‘To the Fields of Lilac’ at Salon 94, New York, opened this spring alongside a presentation of her work at Tate Britain that closed last month. Keep an eye on her Instagram for upcoming shows.


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6. Melissa Misla

Melissa Misla’s colourful depictions of domestic spaces pay homage to Nuyorican culture and aesthetics. In her most recent series of mixed-media paintings titled ‘What a Part of the Apartment Meant’ (currently on show at Praxis gallery in New York until 12 November), Misla tenderly recreates rooms from her childhood home, drawing on memories and photographs of what it was like just before she left it. ‘I use paint, design, collaged material, tile, and found objects to address the collective narrative of transitioning into adulthood,’ she says of the work in an accompanying artist statement. ‘The focus on each separate room, the mosaic tile, the items behind open doors, and the stacked pieces recall such themes of the varied parts of a whole Nuyorican culture and the duality of the Latinx identity.’


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A post shared by Misla (@mislaart)

7. Remi Ajani

Remi Ajani only recently graduated from the Slade school of fine art in London and is already attracting attention for her mesmeric paintings that slip between figuration and abstraction. Using found imagery as an entry point, she explores ways of conveying emotion through fluid, watery gestures of paint, out of which faces and bodies emerge. Her work was included in the group exhibition ‘Same Same’ at Sid Motion gallery until 22 October.


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8. Nevine Mahmoud

Los Angeles-based artist Nevine Mahmoud’s sculptures play with materiality and sensory perception to create surreal, haunting encounters that often centre around the female body – luscious red lips, pillowy breasts, and dripping wet fruit are recurring motifs. Her current exhibition ‘in mass and feeling’ at Soft Opening, 6 Minerva Street, London (until 3 December), however, focuses on ideas around playground and fantasy with four new works including a little white marble fawn with large pink, fleshy ears. The show was a big hit with the art crowd during Frieze week – expect to see much more of her work in the future.


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A post shared by Nevinespirit (@nevinespirit)

9. Issy Wood

The 29-year-old artist and musician Issy Wood has been one of the most talked about young stars in the contemporary art world for a while now. She shot to fame when gallerist Vanessa Carlos, co-founder of London gallery Carlos/Ishikawa, started exhibiting her work while she was still in art school, and since then her work has been shown widely. Most recently, she made headlines for turning down the patronage of art mogul Larry Gagosian. ‘If I wanted an older man to hold money over my head, I would’ve gotten back in touch with my dad,’ she told the Times. Drawing on a diverse range of source imagery, from film stills to photographs of her family’s possessions, her paintings explore the space between detachment and intimacy.


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10. Lindsey Mendick

Margate-based artist Lindsey Mendick plays with the conventions of traditional ceramics to create ornate, lustrous objects that are filled with humour and drama. Glazed vases and jugs appear dented and ripped apart, sprouting tentacles and penises or crawling with bugs, while her installations – encompassing film, furniture, painting and found objects – envision unnerving, fantastical worlds. Her work is deeply personal and brutally honest, exploring all manner of subjects from sex and relationships to mental health and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. She is one of 23 contemporary artists to be included in the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Strange Clay’ exhibition (opening on 26 October 2022) and has a show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park forth-coming in 2023.


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A post shared by Lindsey Mendick (@lindseymendick)

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