Friday, 13 October 2023, 17:25
Marisa González was in her thirties when she read a newspaper article that triggered a lifelong transformation of her artistic and activist side. "It described the violence suffered by women; it was torture like nothing I had ever heard of," she said. That moment in 1975 left a profound impact on the Bilbao-born artist and is now being remembered through the exhibition La Mulata y sus Máscaras (The Mulatto and her Masks) at the Isabel Hurley gallery until 10 November.
Several photographic sequences from the Violencia Mujer project provoke contemplation from the gallery walls. Marisa González told SUR: "I had a studio mate in Washington, Liz Williams, who had all the features of a black woman: full lips, coarse hair, and a broad nose. But her skin was completely white, which posed an identity problem in her life. She felt out of place. Her father said they preferred to live in the black neighbourhood because in the white one, they were completely discriminated against. So, she used this lack of identity in her work, creating masks of her own face with various mediums, concealing herself, and questioning her true identity. I took photographs, and I wanted to call it La Mulata."
These photographs were first exhibited at Tabacalera in Madrid in 1975. "This discourse still resonates well with current events and now everyone is asking me for these works," she said.
The artist has just turned 80 but still remembers her first feminist series titled La Violación (The Rape) and projects in which she addressed gender -based violence, women's identity, and even industrial dismantling, as she did with her photographs of the Lemóniz nuclear power plant.
And there is still much to denounce, just as in those projects from nearly 50 years ago.
That's why the art world and galleries continue to request these works from the Bilbao-born artist, who, through her memories and her art, still looks at the world through the eyes of a feminist from 1975.
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