Art is said to fulfill its purpose only when endowed with social awareness. Others go as far as to say that art becomes meaningless if it bears no use to society’s frustrations and struggles, especially to its most vulnerable layers.
Our times, the hardships we’re experiencing, serve as an alarm call for restless people: now is the time for action! Through this prism, 21 women photographers decided to stand up “against violence, sexism, conservatism and inequality” creating the initiative “WeChangeThePicture”, as a gesture of solidarity and support towards all women.
In their own words: “This is the time to openly address the issues of gender-driven violence, power abuse and sexism. To demand the reform of the existing legal framework on gender equality and highlight the need for a public discourse, aiming to point out all abusive behaviors that tend to be regarded as acceptable or normal.”
Each photographer grants an artwork of hers, available in 21 numbered and signed copies, with the purpose of contributing to the work of “Diotima”, the Centre for Research on Women’s Issues, which offers legal and psychological support to women who find the courage to speak out.
“I am desperately searching to find out when was the last time a male artist was asked whether paternity has taken a toll on his dedication to art. The last time a male artist was asked if and under which circumstances he fell victim to acts of violence or sexual harassment. The last time a male artist was asked if he feels the need to strive for a drastic change. I keep on searching, but to no avail.”
“Out of the darkness into the light of acceptance and speaking up, we are crossing the threshold of a meaningful change, by taking a stand through our works and actions. It is our duty and responsibility to pass on a world of equality and meritocracy, as well as a new reality, to the following generation.”
“WeChangeThePicture initiative is the least we can do as women photographers. The decency and beauty we have been trying for years to channel through our work is nothing less than a protest against violence and the perpetuation of obsolete and socially harmful conditions. Patriarchy and power relations are neither carved in stone nor God-sent. Let us redefine and reshape the world given to us, so as to pass on a better version to the ones to come.”
“I mean if I just presented to you this woman I’m writing about now… ‘I’m a single woman in her late fifties. I work in a doctor’s office. I ride home on the bus. Every Saturday I do my laundry and then I shop at Lucky’s and buy the Sunday Chronicle and go home.’ But my story opens with ‘Every Saturday, after the Laundromat and the grocery store, she bought the Sunday Chronicle.’ You’ll listen to all the compulsive, obsessive boring little details of this woman’s, Henrietta’s, life only because it is written in third person.”
Point of View, Lucia Berlin