A new commercial contemporary art gallery in Melbourne dedicated entirely to women artists, Finkelstein Gallery, will open its first exhibition this week.

Located in Prahran, Finkelstein Gallery was founded by art consultant and advocate Lisa Fehily, who was inspired by the underrepresentation of female artists in Australia and by the #5womenartists campaign initiated in 2016 by the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC, which asked people if they could name five women artists.

Lisa Fehily, owner of Finkelstein Gallery. Photograph supplied

“After working with artists for many years, I have been witness to female artists being overlooked, not being put forward for important exhibitions and institutions predominantly considering male artists for collections”, said Fehily, citing recent statistics from The Countess Report that found that in 2014 women represented only 40 percent of artists shown in Australian commercial galleries and 34 percent in state museums, despite making up 75 percent of art school graduates.

With the hope of nurturing and developing the careers of both emerging and well-established artists, Fehily has selected a group of 10 artists – Australians Cigdem Aydemir, Lisa Roet, Louise Paramor, Monika Behrens, Kate Rohde, Kate Baker, Deborah Kelly and Coady, along with Kim Lieberman from South Africa and Sonal Kantaria from the UK – who will kick start Finkelstein Gallery’s first exhibition, Finkelstein Gallery Presents opening this week.

The artists specialise in an array of disciplines. Cigdem Aydemir, a performance and video artist known for her socially and politically engaged works, will explore transcultural communication in post-colonialism and feminism. Lisa Roet, another well-established Melbourne artist, uses interdisciplinary means like bronze sculptures, charcoal drawings, film and photography to explore the relationship between humans and primates. Roet has just come back from showing large-scale exhibitions at Beijing Design Week and Hong Kong Business of Design Week. London-based visual artist and academic Sonal Kantaria will exhibit works encompassing her interest in migration, settlement and sub-cultures in South Africa.

“I have selected an exclusive group of talented female artists, whose unique voices combine their incredible insight into contemporary society, life as a female, cultural and historical understanding, together with extraordinary skills with concepts and mediums as artists,” said Fehily.

Finkelstein Gallery Presents runs from August 29 to September 28

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