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Reet Varblane

How to Curate a Feminist Exhibition in Estonia?

This short position paper will reflect upon fifteen years of experience organising and curating feminist exhibitions in Estonia. The main aims of curatorial activity in the 1990s were to bring together local and international feminist artists and to encourage women artists to think about and express their position and status. In the early 21st century, younger generations of Estonian (women) artists have positioned themselves as part of the global contemporary art world more than ever before. This raises the issue of how, especially from a feminist perspective, local artistic identities and concerns figure in relation to global issues.

Reet Varblane studied history and art history at the University of Tartu. She works as a curator at Tallinn Art Hall. She has been interested in gender studies and feminist art since 1991 after she participated in the European Women’s Congress. In 1995 she curated, together with Mare Tralla and Eha Komissarov, the first Estonian feminist exhibition Est.Fem. Since then she has curated many exhibitions in Tallinn dealing with gender and feminist issues, including Metadialogue (1998), Sex Market (2007), Obscurum per obscurius (2009 – together with Ilja Sundelevitsh), Women changing world (2009 – with women artists from Israel), Personal is Political. Translating Hannah Höch’s art (2010) and others. She has been writing and publishing art criticism since 1976 and writing about gender issues since 1994.