The Big Art Herstory Project is the brainchild of London based Painter and Co-Founder of the London Drawing Group, Luisa Maria MacCormack.

Luisa founded the group in 2018 after two years teaching with the London Drawing Group, her classes within the group are the immensely popular Drawing Tours, often distinctly feminist in nature, that see groups of students plunged into the patriarchal world of the museum and gallery spaces of London, ferreting out the untold stories and overlooked imaginations of the women who lurk in the shadows.

The BAHP (yes, we know its the best Acronym ever, note Venus’s iced accoutrements if you didn’t get the innuendo) was founded in response to a growing concern that only one perspective of the Art-Historical record ever seems to get told, and after two years of research and development, we’re ready to take our range of classes on the road!

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Luisa studied Surface Design for Textiles specialising in Embroidery at London College of Fashion, before studying with the Royal Drawing School and founding London Drawing Group. She teaches drawing with LDG, and is regularly invited to lecture all over London and beyond, she has been commissioned for lectures by the Tate, London Illustration Fair and The Gender and Beard Society, Cambridge. Here’s what Luisa has to say about the founding of BAHP, and if you’re interested, you can see more of her work at
www.luisamariam.com

“As a young, idealistic female painter of figurative and representational art, in the past ten years I have spent a significant proportion of my life in the hallowed halls of the free institutions of London, drawing. I dragged drawing boards and stacks of paper around The National Gallery, The British Museum, Tate Galleries, the V&A and many more, making diligent studies of everything from ancient Hindu Masterpieces of Relief Sculpture to enormous Rubens paintings, all recorded in faithful detail. Of course I knew on an intellectual, somewhat distant level that the artists I was so fastidiously studying were all men, but it was not until I began teaching for the London Drawing Group in 2016 that the emotional content of what, truly, I had known all along began to hit me. As part of a close group of three female artists who are all modern feminists, I suddenly found myself battling to contextualise both my views and my work within a world that at the highest levels, is still dominated by white males, shows an alarming lack of diversity and systematically ferrets out the poor and the ‘other’ from its ranks. But where to start, when there are only 11 paintings by female artists at the National Gallery, (half in storage), how to locate the true stories of powerful women when the spotlight rests so insidiously on the naked ones? How to understand 200,000 years of human history when it has been written, for the most part, from only one perspective? 

I launched my own classes within LDG in January 2017 with a class that was an immediate bestseller, attracting over 12,000 responses via social media; Female Sexuality and the Male Gaze has been our longest running class to date, and over 200 people have joined us on that journey, it has since been joined by Powerful Women, Sacred Feminine: Art of the Goddess, Female Sexuality and the Male Gaze II: Berger and the Art of the Nude, Witches, Monsters and Beasties, A Feminist’s Guide to Botany at Kew Gardens, and The Hysterical Body: Sexuality, Medicine and the Female Form at the Wellcome Collection, with many more still in the pipeline.

My own work as a painter has been informed in deep and exciting ways by my work with LDG and now with BAHP, and hinges on how we as female artists can come to terms with the gender divide in our collective history, to internalise it and create from it, move past it in positive and meaningful ways and most importantly, to never let it be forgotten, my current work is based around the gender gap in both Art and the history of Religion, and is a kind of wry fun-poking way of re-authoring some iconic works and situating myself within the pantheon of Art History by doing so.”

Here’s Luisa being all cultured and looking at paintings in Venice whilst also being very lost and partially blinded by sunlight. If you spot her out and about in a gallery, say hello!

Here’s Luisa being all cultured and looking at paintings in Venice whilst also being very lost and partially blinded by sunlight. If you spot her out and about in a gallery, say hello!