BUTTERFLIES ARE A SIGN OF A GOOD THING
2017 - ongoing long-term project
“BUTTERFLIES ARE A SIGN OF A GOOD THING” is a long term project that addresses women who work in prostitution.
My main motivation for this subject has been to reveal unexpected views on prostitution, there-by tackling the stigma that is attached to it.
An important reference for me is the work of sociologists J. Kleinman and J.W. Schneider, who criticize the academic research for its often narrow and biased vision. Many social scientists who study stigma do so from theories that are uninformed by the lived experience of the people that encounter social stigma on a day-to-day basis.
For this reason, I develop an alternative visual language that goes beyond the traditional documentary format, for it is based on close interpersonal relationships and interactions with mysubjects.
I hope that my body of work will raise empathy for my protagonists and will make the audience reflect on prostitution from new angles and that it will raise questions on stigmatization in general.
Background: Since 2013, I am working on an intense artistic research on sex work. Previously to Ghana, I have been to Western European capitals such as Brussels, Athens, and Paris.
Through my work in Western Europe, I have met several African women from places like Nigeria and Ghana. I became well acquainted with their attitudes and culture, which they continue to try to preserve in their new cultural environment. The relationship with my African models with whom I established close friendships, has always been very stimulating to me as these women were tremendously inspirational.
This conviction strengthened my desire to visit their home countries and to live with them in their original environment as to get a better understanding of their personality. With a grant from VG Bildkunst, Germany, I finally went to Accra, Ghana the first time in May 2017 for six weeks. Recently, supported by the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, I continued my project in Accra for another 10 weeks.
In Accra, the collaboration with my protagonists became closer. I collected artworks like drawings and embroidery work made by my subject. Using the medium of video and sound, I was able to observe my models in a different manner too. I could record several interviews that are telling the women lives.
The presentation will be a multi-media piece of photography, videos, sound, drawings and objects.