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Georgia Women to Watch
January 28, 2023 – June 4, 2023
For the 2023 iteration of the ongoing Women to Watch series, the Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) invited guest curators Sierra King and Melissa Messina to select five woman-identifying Georgia-connected artists whose work responds to the question:
When women artists envision a different world, how does that look?
With over 60 artists initially considered, and 16 studio visits conducted, these 5 artists represent a diverse range of artistic excellence, age, backgrounds, and geographic locations. Their practices push the boundaries of their chosen media and the exhibition’s thematic inquiry.
Anila Quayyum Agha (Augusta), Namwon Choi (Savannah), Victoria Dugger (Athens), Shanequa Gay (Atlanta), and Marianna Dixon Williams (Augusta) each employ an experiential, installation-based practice that allows the viewer to charge each space with their personal physical presence and emotional and intellectual considerations. In this way, the viewer becomes the subject of the exhibition. A collaborative call-and-response to visions of the future is, after all, what determines possibility.
In New Worlds, such visions include young women honored as goddesses, vulnerabilities celebrated as sources of strength, and our relationship to the landscape re-imagined and redefined. The ancient and timeless symbol of the pyramid illuminates our way into these multivalent environments. Each artist presents time as a poetic, bendable, cyclical element. In so doing, they collectively remind us that we must consider the past – transform its ills and cultivate its beauty – to chart a more peaceful, bountiful, equitable, and enchanted future.
Women to Watch is a collaboration between NMWA and its network of national and international outreach committees. Held every two to three years, Women to Watch features emerging and underrepresented women artists from the states and countries in which the museum has committees.
With a track record of supporting women artists (76% of its exhibiting artists are female), the non-profit alternative art space Atlanta Contemporary has a mission that aligns perfectly with the Georgia Committee’s goal to support and advocate for women artists in Georgia.
Presented by Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Anila Quayyum Agha (b. Lahore, Pakistan) received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore and an MFA from the University of North Texas. Recent solo shows include the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid, Spain, The Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL. Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, North Carolina Art Museum in Raleigh, and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. For the 2019 Venice Biennale Agha was included in a collateral event, She Persists, with 22 contemporary feminist artists. Among many other awards, Agha has received a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors award in 2018 and 2019 as well as the prestigious Smithsonian Fellowship in the arts. Her work has been collected by both institutions and private collectors; nationally and internationally.
Namwon Choi is an artist based in Savannah, GA. Choi acquired her BFA and MFA in Traditional Korean Painting from Hongik University in Seoul, Korea in 2002, and her MFA in Drawing and Painting at Georgia State University in Atlanta in 2014. In 2022 she had a solo exhibition at the Moss Art Center at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA and at Laney Contemporary Gallery in Savannah, GA. In fall 2021 her solo exhibition at THE END Project Space in Atlanta, GA was reviewed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Choi’s work has been exhibited at the New York City Korean Culture Center, the Los Angeles Korean Culture Center, Aqua Art Miami, at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia in Atlanta and, B20 Wiregrass Biennial at the Wiregrass Museum in Dothan, Alabama. Her work in the “New Connections” exhibition at the Korean Cultural Center in Washington D.C. was reviewed in the Washington Post. In 2020, she was one of three finalists selected for the most recent 1858 Prize Contemporary Southern Art Award at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. She is currently a professor of Foundation Studies at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Victoria Dugger (b.1991) was born in Columbus, Georgia. She attended Columbus State University where she received her BFA in Drawing and Painting. Dugger received her MFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings South Edition, Burnaway, and Flagpole Magazine as well as various other publications. In June 2021 she had her New York debut solo show Out of Body, at Sargent’s Daughters gallery. She is represented by Sargent’s Daughters gallery in New York.
Atlanta-born Shanequa Gay (b. 1977) holds an MFA from Georgia State University and BA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Gay’s accomplishments include selection for Off the Wall, a city-wide Civil Rights and Social Justice Mural initiative led by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee (2019). Her recent exhibitions include Atlanta Biennial, Atlanta Contemporary (2021); Le Monde Bossale, Montreal, Canada, in (2021); Adorned, McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Charlotte (2020); Holding Space for Nobility: A Memorial for Breonna Taylor, Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill North Carolina (2020); and Lit Without Sherman, Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta (2019). Gay has exhibited her work in the United States, Japan, and South Africa and will participate in the European Cultural Centre’s exhibition within the context of the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, Gay is a visiting Professor at Atlanta’s Spelman College.
Marianna Dixon Williams was born in Augusta, Georgia. She attended Brown University and received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design before completing an MFA with a concentration in time-based and interactive media at the University of Pennsylvania. She has held academic appointments at the University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania and as an Assistant Professor of New Media at Augusta University. Her work was recently exhibited in Personal Structures: Identity at the European Cultural Center at the 2022 Venice Biennale. She will assume a role as an Assistant Professor of Digital Art and Design at Mount Holyoke College in 2023.