Women Groundbreakers

A Series on women who broke the mould and changed the world

Dr Patricia Bath painting portrait by Anya Vero in oil on silk
Tu Youoyou portrait by Anya Vero Oil on silk
Hedy Lamarr portrait in oil on silk on a canvas with uneven angles of the frame
Rosalind Franklin portrait in oil on silk by Anya Vero
Hypatia portrait by Anya Vero Oil On Silk
Dr Grace Murray Hopper painting portrait by Anya Vero in oil on silk
Flossie Wong-Staal by Anya Vero oil painting portrait
Maya Angelou by Anya Vero oil painting portrait
Billie Holiday by Anya Vero oil painting portrait
Ann Tsukamoto by Anya Vero oil painting portrait

I was reading the How It Works “Book of Great Inventors & Their Inventions” one day and was surprised to realise that, among 30 great inventors, they’d only included one woman.

It got me thinking – we’ve all heard of Einstein, we’ve all heard of Darwin, and Da Vinci. But history is full of groundbreaking women, most of us have never heard of. I think that reputation should be based on achievement, regardless of gender. And so, I’ve created this collection of paintings to redress that balance. A new portrait is released every week, complete with the story behind the groundbreaking women and her impact on people’s lives.

The twenty-first century is about breaking stereotypes and prejudices, providing equal opportunities and supporting innovation in all corners of the world for all kinds of individuals.

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Stephanie Kwolek

Kwolek invented kevlar, a hugely versatile material that not only helped saved countless lives through its use in bullet proof clothing, but also weaved its way into numerous other household products.

Dr Patricia Bath painting portrait by Anya Vero in oil on silk

Patricia Bath

A pioneer in the field of cataract treatment, Patricia Bath used the power of laser-technology to invent a more accurate and less painful procedure, thus leaving a legacy that spans far beyond the reaches of her field of ophthalmology.

Tu Youoyou portrait by Anya Vero Oil on silk

Tu Youyou

Tu Youyou saves millions of lives every year through her work in malaria treatment and was the first Chinese winner of the Nobel Prize in a scientific category, Physiology (or Medicine). She was also the first human volunteer to test the ingredient that she isolated believing it would certainly work, and it did!

Hedy Lamarr portrait in oil on silk on a canvas with uneven angles of the frame

Hedy Lamarr

WIFI. It’s the basis of our lives today, but it all started with this woman, some 60 years ago, when Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil, invented what would today be the base of WIFI.

Rosalind Franklin portrait in oil on silk by Anya Vero

Rosalind Franklin

DNA is our most fundamental understanding of ourselves – this is what we are. The person behind the first ever x-ray photograph of DNA and its structure is Rosalind Franklin. She was an English chemical scientist, specialising in X-ray crystallography and her work is paramount to our understanding of the molecular structure of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.

Hypatia portrait by Anya Vero Oil On Silk

Hypatia

Hypatia was one of the most prominent mathematicians and astronomers of late antiquity. She was famous in her time and is considered to be the first woman mathematician (that we know about). Scholars traveled from around the world to learn mathematics and astronomy at her school.

Dr Grace Murray Hopper painting portrait by Anya Vero in oil on silk

Grace Hopper

Dr Grace Murray Hopper revolutionised and modernised computer programming by inventing the first compiler, a program that converts programming code into machine language. She was one of the first computer programmers, working on the Hardvard Mark I – the first machine that could process long computations automatically, used in the war efforts during WWII.

Marie Curie by Anya Vero Oil Painting Portrait

Marie Curie

When we think of ‘radioactivity’, we think of dangerous chemicals and nuclear meltdowns, or of X-rays and related advances in medical treatment, or commercial flights that expose us to it. We are aware of its huge impact on our lives

In this painting, the focus is on the remarkable woman who coined the term itself and secured two Nobel prizes in two distinct sciences (the only person ever to have done so).

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