Semper Mater

Since I was a child I followed, step by step, the path my grandmothers, my aunts and my mother were going through. I used to watch them, so getting more and more into being a woman.
Over the years I understood that I had recorded and impressed in my unconscious, which was gradually emerging and becoming intelligible, joys, sorrows, bonds and responsibilities of the feminine world I belong to.
When I started taking the first pictures of this project, I was not fully aware of what journey I had taken, I only knew that femininity was the shapeless core I wanted to bring to light, and that a quarry would be the only place where I could find this primigenial mass.
I don’t know if my photographs correspond to the stages of the process I mentioned, each one representing the condensation (or the lump?) of a specific condition of femininity; yet there is a beginning, an entrance crossed through in search of greater awareness. A portal that marks the border between the world that I had always considered my homeworld (and that still tries to hold me back) and the unexplored one I’m coming back to.
So here’ s the red cloak meaning both a burden to carry on your shoulders and a groove in a blood-paved road; not the blood of male violence, but the vital and passionate blood of the woman, who understands through direct experience what she had already learnt by observing the women who preceded her.
From here a personal reflection begins about what it means to be a woman, especially about what a woman’s self-imposed expectations and obligations are. The obligation of being a mother, first of all. Not only in the wonderful sense of ‘life-giving’, but also in the social role that restricts her to limiting tasks, spaces and aspirations.
Motherhood has multiple forms, it can be a huge womb sheltering the lives it will give birth to; it may be the agonizing and never-ending wait to know whether those lives (from which a mother will never be completely detached) will meet a favourable or adverse destiny; it can be a disorientated journey tracking back in search of a much-vaunted but never really existed perfection; it can be the burden of a responsibility you are not able or not willing to accept, but a mother without a maternal instinct remains the greatest taboo of a patriarchal society that even women, despite being encouraged to help, do not question.
In a context where women cannot decide or even recognize their role, their only chance is to adapt and shape their identity according to the various conditions they have to face, each time wearing specific personalities as if they were masks. Masks that are not meant to pretend to be a mother, a worker, a lover or an angel of the hearth, but that help protect us from the uncertainty of what we could and would like to be.
Masks that nonetheless limit our potentialities, which mark the fracture of a unique and conscious identity that would only guarantee the original independence of our spirit.
How can we reclaim our identity? How can we stop chasing down a role that does not belong to us, without giving up the rights we have reached and that still await us?
Perhaps creating a link with she who was first a Mother, the Earth. Actually, restoring a deep connection with our origins, our bodies as roots drawing from a visceral knowledge, unknown and familiar at the same time.
Thanks to this dialogue it will perhaps be possible to undertake a new course, free from artificial or self-imposed structures, and what today appear to us as the limits of femininity and the confirmations of a “weak” genre will once again become the legacy and the manifestation of a power generating life. We will remember that fertility is not a time window within which to fulfil a task, but a gift to be protected and shared, always.

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