It is true that I have not been really cold since 2012, but it is this year when the “change” is really getting hot! I am getting to that time in a woman’s life where questions that are unresolved take a turn into the chemical: all those internal substances triggering emotional confetti of unexplained and sometimes uncontrollable swinging. Yes, it is the menopause! normally accompanied with words such as: the “end of woman’s fertility”, the “beginning of the end”, the “transition”, the “decline”… and many other ‘encouraging’ meanings. For one, I absolutely reject all these catastrophic connotations! Not only because as I have said many times before, “we are living the best times of our lives” and because this is precisely one of the best periods ever!
Friends around me are experiencing the menopause in different degrees, some of them are not even touched by it, navigating it in a calm sea; others are assaulted by the hot flushes at unexpected times; for me, it has been the apparition of migraines; for few it is all about mood swinging -the lows and the highs!-. Being such a natural part of women’s lives, it is odd to encounter such negative representations of menopause: the image of a maniac, murderous or moody woman, burning hot, seems to be favoured by popular culture. From a medical perspective, the menopause is addressed as a condition to be “remedied” with drugs, as if all the women’s phases were illnesses to be cured. As Jeannette Winterson says, “With the Pill to prevent conception, IVF to encourage it and HRT for the menopause, the womb to tomb ambitions of Big Pharma have been realised”.
To tell the truth I have been preparing myself for the menopause; I have seen it coming for a while (the so-called peri-menopause) and I’ve been looking forward to see how I am evolving. I started my journey by reading the great book by Dr. Christiania Northrup called The Wisdom of Menopause, which has been a good guidance for the type of changes internal and physical that I could expect. Not all of them have happened, indeed, all women are different… and I can only account for my own changes, my impressions and expressions of the inner chemistry and evolution of my body.
During this time I’ve felt that it is my time to do things… it is like if a voice inside of me is poking me to do the things that I really want, and to say NO to those I don’t want. I am becoming more tuned with my own self and with this I have felt an increasing desire to follow my heart, and follow those dreams that have been buried under the “must’s and should’s” of roles that I have thought I should play. I feel a strange force inside me, which sometimes is mismatched with my real physical energy, but in general I felt that it’s powerful and empowering, and that’s perhaps one of the drivers of my artistic quest.
At the most practical level, I have discovered the joy of Fans, and hence I decided to start a series of “FanTastic Ladies”: hand painted fans, in vibrant colours trying to convey what we “hot women” feel! Indeed, it seems that we’ve lost the rich language of the fans, a “lethal weapon” that could inflict more pain to hearts and expectations of lovers and suitors, in those balls and social events of the 17th, 18th and 19th century! A Victorian guide to fan language contains secret codes in the placement and movement of this apparently innocent artifact: from “yes” (letting the fan rest on the right cheek) and “no” (Letting the fan rest on the left cheek) to more complex messages such as “I like to speak to you” (Touching the finger to the tip of the fan), or more devastating news: “I am love with other person!” (Fan held over left ear)… oh dear, definitively, those fans were the social media of their time.
It is a shame that the secret language of fans has disappeared, but I am sure that if we get to update it, it may add an interesting layer to our bodyctionaries! So, for this series, I decided to be clear about what we want to say and convey it through colors. I used some brilliant markers that work as high quality pigments in paper fans. The messages are also hand printed using a vintage typewriter set of stamps. The intention is to celebrate our hotness, and to communicate cheeky messages, words that sometimes we need to re-signify and say out loud. I feel it is time to “come out” with this and other many ideas, because as Elizabeth Gilbert says in her great book “Big Magic”, ideas look for hosts and this is my giving space to this idea that has been ‘warming’ up with me for a while and give it a go… and these are my FANs!.
I aim at exploring some market options, and if you like these fans, want one, or wish to give one to a friend, please let me know. I also can do bespoken fans with personalised messages. Any opinion at this stage of this project is welcome!!!!
I also thought it would be nice to have a “model” to show off the fans, and in a stroke of creativity (and resourcefulness) I decided to put in practice the many years of watching Tyra Banks‘ America’s Next Top Model, and get myself in front of the camera! Tyra always says: celebrate your own you! My photographer, the talented Carmen Lamberti, helped me to loose a bit, so with some nice music (this time a great tribute to Jose Jose by Latin Rock groups) and much laughter, the pictures came as follows:
In short, “Fantastic Ladies” is all about feeling cool, wonderful, fab goddesses being so HOT! Smize!!!