Women artists are affected by societal and cultural expectations that restrict our ability to make meaningful art. It’s important to share our experiences.

I define “confinement” as the idea that women artists are still very controlled and repressed by the boundaries and expectations that our cultures and countries impose, and it’s a subject I like to talk about a lot. The effects of confinement on our emotions and energy—and consequently the art that we can or are allowed to create—can be brutal. In some countries and cultures it’s very obvious when a woman is being restricted, and other times (like where I live) it’s more subtle, taking the form of lack of access or comments or even our own conditioning telling us that we shouldn’t do something.

Confinement is something I struggle with as a person and in my own artist practice. Even though I’m a full-time artist, it is still hard to set aside a chunk of quiet, uninterupted time to create. Sometimes I have difficulty disregarding the expectations of other people and my own culture so that I can get out of my head and create meaningful art.

I think part of the problem is that our lives and careers as women artists are still not seen as “normal,” even now in these “modern” times. But by talking about this and sharing our experiences, I think we can help each other overcome this challenge.

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Mauren Brodbeck