Women Groundbreakers

When someone mentions that Kevlar was invented by Stephanie Kwolek, people are often surprised and amused that such a “manly” invention was in fact created by a woman. Or that CCTV originates from an idea of Marie Van Brittan Brown, that the Earth’s solid core was discovered by Inge Lehmann, and that the original abstract painter is Hilma Af Klint – all of this makes people go “wow!”… Yet, when you mention a man discovering or creating something it is taken as a given, as expected. There is a difference in the way we see women groundbreakers as opposed to men groundbreakers. 

This collection celebrates the lives and works of 33 women groundbreakers from a range of disciplines, eras and parts of the world…


Soulicious is a collection of works that draw on intimate human experiences. 

Geisha devote their whole lives to learning the intricacies of their bodies and bending them to their will – in mind and in physical form.

“…her constant movement like that of an energetic sparrow.” (from p272 of Geisha by Liza Dalby: about an older geisha who owned an okiya in Tokyo.)

Soulicious explores incongruous behaviours or feelings – like when you are in a crowd and imagine yourself naked, just being there surrounded by people. The opposite would also feel incongruous – when everyone around is naked and one person is completely dressed.

After Gabrielle d’Estrees (2022)

Mixed media, acrylics, 40x40cm

Eye (2022)

Mixed media, acrylics, 21x29cm

Hug (2021)

Mixed media, acrylics, 21x29cm

Figures (2022)

Mixed media, acrylics, 25x35cm

Embrace (2021)

Mixed media, acrylics, 21x29cm

Hug II (2021)

Mixed media, acrylics, 40x50cm

Passion (2019)

Mixed media, 21x29cm

Intertwined (2023)

Mixed media, 116x65cm

Art For Freedom

Art for Freedom is a series focused on human trafficking. In creating the works, Anya Vero partnered with two Mexican organisations – SINTRATA and the Comisión Unidos Contra la Trata. Vero painted portraits from photographs of the survivors they work with, exhibiting them alongside their stories about their experiences and a number of other works exploring the gaps in human society resulting from trafficking.

The collection was showcased at a multidisciplinary event at Carousel Gallery in London Mayfair, with talks by a leading Human Rights barrister, the international anti-slavery charity A21 and bespoke creations by a perfumer and a songwriter.

Nancy the Survivor (2018)

Acrylics on linen, 60x70cm

Arely the Survivor (2018)

Acrylics on linen, 60x70cm

Gaps in Humanity (2018)

Mixed media, 140x90cm

Revival (2018)

Acrylics on linen, 70x85cm

The Rite of Spring (2020)

When the ballet Rite of Spring by Stravinsky came out in 1939 it caused a near-riot, it was that controversial. Depicting Russian pagan culture and the ritual of finding a maiden in the spring and sacrificing her was interpreted through daring choreography, dramatic music and expressive costumes. Even today, it is mesmerising and impressive. To turn the meaning on its head and show resistance to the outdated idea of sacrificing a woman, another figure of a famous ballet dancer is juxtaposed right at the centre of it.

This juxtaposition of a modern strong woman in the Rite of Spring instead of a maiden who is being sacrificed is a statement of resistance. Instead of a victim, stands a strong woman full of energy and passion. Marianella Nunez as Tatiana from Onegin is the perfect subject for this painting to depict such a woman, as Nunez herself is known for being a highly expressive performer.

Oil on silk, 100x110cm

Rite Of Spring painting by Anya Vero