I learned since childhood to please others, to play the role that best suited the version of me they more... Read More
I learned since childhood to please others, to play the role that best suited the version of me they more liked. In particular, to get the attention of the men in my family, I had to wear the mask of the obedient and humble girl with no complaints about her privileged life. My grandfather was the worst. It hadn't been enough for him to sexually abuse me in early childhood; he had never missed an opportunity to crush my self-esteem. He labeled me arrogant when I dared to be proud of my school accomplishments. So, perhaps it was predictable for me to bring along this kind of toxic habit in my romantic relationships with men. I've always unawarely performed with all my partners a sort of male fantasy. I actually couldn't tell the difference between the acting me and the real me. I was just an extension of their egoistic desire, but it had never lasted long. I felt like Rilke's panther, locked up in the same cage but every time with a different owner.
Thus, that's the premise of this painting. The questions I asked myself in it were: "How do I see myself reflected in the eyes of a man I fell for?"; "What thoughts and feelings do provoke in me his staring at me?"; "Does he really see me or does he see just versions of me that reflect back his own desire?"; "Am I prisoner of his gaze, or can I find myself in it?".
As human beings, we don't exist in a void. We are social animals who need others. And yet, we lose ourselves in the entanglement of other people's expectations and judgments. Can we honestly say: that's who I am, or who I am is always in some way a reflection of my community's perception of me?