Anita DeSoto

My work is a blend of postmodern consciousness and the tropes represented by European masters. Through my art, I aim to flip the narrative of women being portrayed as accessories, victims or pawns in a patriarchal society.

Anita DeSoto is an Aotearoa/New Zealand award winning artist

With 20 years of experience exhibiting her paintings nationally and internationally, the New Zealand artist Anita DeSoto holds a Master of Fine Arts and has been teaching Drawing and Painting at the Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic since 2004.

Anita has also been awarded several arts residencies, including one at the Leipzig International Art Program in Germany (2010), Aratoi Fellow in 2012, and an artist-in-residence at the New Pacific Studios in Vallejo, San Francisco in 2014. and the William Hodges Fellowship 2018.

Her paintings are in the collections of Southland Art Foundation, Pah House, Auckland and Anderson Park Public Gallery Collection, Invercargill.

Her Fertility Turned Him Into a Tree, after Jordaen oil on canvas, 1980x1675mm, 2023

Artists Statement for Current Work

My recent work pays homage to the Baroque era while highlighting the ongoing struggle for women’s rights. In today’s world, where these rights are at risk, it’s essential to revisit history and acknowledge the persecution women endured during witch hunts. Drawing inspiration from Baroque masters, this oil on canvas piece challenges traditional gender roles. Its title symbolizes a transformation in gender dynamics, as fertility becomes a symbol of feminine power, reversing the roles of oppressor and oppressed.

My artwork sparks a postmodern discourse, inviting viewers to question the portrayals of gender by European artists of the past. As in  Her Fertility Turned him into a Tree ( above ) this serves as a platform to discuss women’s historical resilience, emphasizing their enduring strength and the urgent need to safeguard and advance women’s rights in a world where they face renewed threats. It acts as both a reminder of our history and a call to action for a more equitable future.

Recent Paintings

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