What is the quiet rebellion? A photographic art series

5 min read

What is the quiet rebellion, then? I should rather explain how I came up with this name for my series and where the idea came from if you have been following me for some time, you know that what makes me tick is portraiture. In every form, painting, photography, sculpture, you name it.

I love listening to others’ life experiences, learning from them and adding my little magic touch to create portraits that will boost their confidence but also start the sparkle inside. As humans, what reunites us are the stories we share that inspire us to transform our lives and go beyond the limitations and fears we impose on ourselves.

When I started the “Bewildered  Maiden Photographic Series” I was inspired by Renaissance paintings that fascinated me. The story of Artemisia Gentileschi took me and how she became a painter during the Renaissance. She had her father to help her set on tracks, but you wouldn’t hear about many women artists at the time.

Historically, women’s roles have been confined to the domestic sphere. They are tasked with raising children and supporting their family financially, bringing the bacon home! Women had little power until they were widowed because then they would inherit all of their husband’s property and titles, giving them some authority within society then.

Artemisia decided to be a rebel. She chose to go beyond what people expected of her. I’m glad that in a time when women were supposed to be seen and not heard, Artemisia fought for space where she could share her talent with us all!

If you look at her paintings i.e Judith and her maidservant there silently is violence and rage because you can see it but not hear it. She was inspired by theatre and drama and found a way to express anger through her paintings. We could think it was a way for her to take revenge for the rape by Agostino Tassi and the torture she had to go through to prove her innocence. Not only was she vouching for the oppression of women.

Jonathan Jones wrote an article about her exhibition at the national portraits gallery in London, describing her painting more savage than Caravaggio: the woman who took revenge in oil.

The art she created helped her express deep emotions and transfigure them to form something powerful, turning the oppressions in her life into paintings as a cry for oppressed women.

I’ve found my inner self deeply resonating with the paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi, not that I’ve endured similar oppression. Since childhood, this desire to be a free and independent woman was always rooted in me.

Growing up in the 70s was a fascinating period because I was at the forefront of women fighting for their rights, and I was part of that. I read “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir not fully grasping what she was saying. As a teenager I lacked the life experience to understand it. My religious education, and my difference being a girl compared with my brothers, stopped me from shifting the needle to the opposite side, staying quiet instead of rebelling against unequal society and behaving like the good girl, but guess what all this repressed anger had to go somewhere. Who was I rebelling against then?

I chose to rebel against myself – turning all the anger inwardly, sabotaging any chance at a fulfilling education, and limiting myself to mundane jobs. Something inside me felt like I was never good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to stand up for myself. I was waiting for life to happen to me instead of taking control.

I silently accepted the injustice of seeing women still considered the second choice in all the mainframes of society, choosing men behaving badly as boyfriends, keeping silent and refraining from expressing myself to the point I had so much anger that I wanted to implode.

I did not know how to express my emotions and kept them under the blanket for so long because I was too scared to give them space in case I would go entirely off limits.

I was fascinated by how paintings from centuries ago would speak to me. I felt moved, coming alive, but I didn’t know what to do with it. Until last year when I started my bewildered maiden photographic art series”

Latest behind the scenes from the Quiet Rebellion Fine Art Photography personal project

A behind the scene photographing the Quiet Rebellion fine art photography series

I knew that I wanted to start creating more pieces of fine art photography, being free to create whatever came to mind without limiting myself thinking about what other people might think of it. I made it happen, I found the costumes, the model, the makeup artist, during the photoshoot I became so alive, I knew that I was creating something of meaning that was speaking to my deepest truth, still I was not grasping the full vision of where I wanted to go or didn’t give myself permission.

I was so excited to make more work, but then the pandemic happened and I had no choice but to stop. It’s been frustrating not being able to finish this series. Not to avail it was for a good reason, having an entire year to think about the project, I joined a community of artists selling their art and started selling my artwork as limited editions, it was truly liberating.

Having clients telling me how much they loved my photographic art made me realise how much passion, I had put into each of the piece I had created, how much it resonated with them, without even realising it.

I finally felt free to acknowledge that I was an artist, I never had given myself permission to call myself that before. I used to think that I was not good enough to be called an artist. But I’m and so proud to be called an artist, gosh I wish it didn’t take me so long as I probably knew I was an artist when I was 13 but never owned it.

If I didn’t think I could call myself artist at first it was because my work is not mind chattering, provocative, shaking you to the core, it’s far more subtle but this is just the beginning. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic having a whole year to think about my photographic work or getting older, but the powerful voice I have tamed for so long is finally ready to roar. I’m planning to go back to the studio to continue the “Quiet Rebellion” series moving up in time. Continue to rustle feathers, building up the quiet rebellion and bring out that powerful voice that I have tamed for so long! Watch this space.

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