What do our visitors think?British Museum
What are our visitors saying about the exhibition?
Feminine power takes you on a journey through 5,000 years of belief in female spiritual beings. Explore the significant role that goddesses, demons, witches, spirits and saints have played – and continue to play – in shaping our understanding of the world.
Visitor inside the Feminine power exhibitionBritish Museum
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Scroll down and explore the exhibition's five sections, each introduced by a high-profile guest collaborator offering their own personal insights.
Bonnie GreerBritish Museum
Creation and nature | Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer offers her own insights into this section on the origins of life, our place within the universe, and the power of the natural world.
Judy Chicago (b.1939), 'The Creation', part of 'The Birth Project'. Print, 1985. Reproduced by permission of the artist.British Museum
Creation and nature | Object in focus
This vibrant print, The Creation, by the contemporary artist Judy Chicago reimagines the Christian creation story from a feminist perspective. It challenges the ‘fake news’ of a male god creating the first man by showing a female deity lying in a birthing position.
Mary BeardBritish Museum
Passion and desire | Mary Beard
Here, guest collaborator Mary Beard explores the figure of Venus. This section delves into some of the ways in which passion and erotic desire have been spiritually associated with feminine influence and the naked female body.
'Lilith', Kiki Smith, 1994. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, photo by Hyla Skopitz.British Museum
Passion and desire | Object in focus
This sculpture by Kiki Smith depicts the demon Lilith. In Jewish mystical texts, Lilith asserts her equality, refusing to subordinate herself to Adam. In this arresting depiction, Smith cast the image of Lilith from the body of a real woman and added piercing eyes of blue glass.
Elizabeth DayBritish Museum
Magic and malice | Elizabeth Day
Guest collaborator Elizabeth Day delves into the world of witchcraft. This section explores how female demons, witches and monsters permeate mythology and folklore from across the globe, defying expectations of submissive female behaviour, idealised within certain cultures.
Carved stone figure of a cihuateotl, Mexico, around 1400–1521.British Museum
Magic and malice | Object in focus
Cihuateteo (divine women) were ambiguous beings. The spirits of women who died in childbirth, they were honoured for their bravery and sacrifice. They were also feared and believed to descend to earth on certain days of the year to steal the children of the living.
Rabia SiddiqueBritish Museum
Justice and defence | Rabia Siddique
Rabia Siddique explores how the battlefield is often the domain of divine female warriors, conquering hostile forces through superior aggression and wisdom.
'Kali Murti', Kaushik Ghosh, 2022.British Museum
Justice and defence | Object in focus
The Hindu goddess Kali is both feared and loved. Terrifying in appearance, she is connected to the creative and destructive power of time. This contemporary icon of the goddess was commissioned for the exhibition by Kaushik Ghosh, a Kolkata-based artist.
Deborah Frances-WhiteBritish Museum
Compassion and salvation | Deborah Frances-White
Deborah Frances-White of the 'Guilty Feminist' podcast introduces this section on compassion, often viewed as an intrinsically feminine or masculine quality in different traditions around the world.
Porcelain figure of Guanyin, China, 18th century.British Museum
Compassion and salvation | Object in focus
Guanyin is a Buddhist bodhisattva – an enlightened being who remains close to the world to guide others towards nirvana. In this 18th century porcelain figure, Guanyin is shown with many arms fanned out around her, symbolising her ability to reach everyone in need.
What does feminine power mean to you?British Museum
Visitor inside the Citi exhibition, Feminine power: the divine to the demonic.
Lilith, Kiki Smith, 1994. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, photo by Hyla Skopitz.
Carved stone figure of a cihuateotl, Mexico, around 1400–1521.
Judy Chicago (b.1939), The Creation, part of The Birth Project. Print, 1985. Reproduced by permission of the artist.
Kali Murti, Kaushik Ghosh, 2022.
Porcelain figure of Guanyin, China, 18th century.
Images © The Trustees of the British Museum
Sponsored by Citi.