“Allow yourself to transform as many times as you need to be fully happy and free.” - yung pueblo
Argentinian born photographer, Gabriela Tulian uses this series to bring hope to those who have suffered or currently suffer any form of abuse. Featuring simple objects in her images that help personify the internal metamorphosis that women in these situations undergo on any given day. Gabriela provides us with an opportunity to withdraw from a broader discussion of violence and negativity, and introspectively consider this storyline, the hidden symbols and analogies of reflection, growth, hope and positivity layered throughout this body of work.
When discussing the series of images with Gabriela she says:
“The series talks about the work that goes into reconstruction and personal healing that a woman may experience after a trauma. Being able to look again and little by little recognize herself in a mirror, the power to see some light at the end of the tunnel, the power of letting go, focusing on the positive and little things that make her happy; feeling confident and valuable. Even if it is hard because someone has taken away all of our self-esteem. Believing that it is possible, is already a big step towards a recovery.”
The series begins by creating a subtle dialogue, asking the viewer to determine what their relationship to these objects would be and how that would change under the predetermined theme for this work. Sparklers, are typically associated with birthdays or celebrations, however, in this context, asks to be considered as something more ominous; a spark that has almost been extinguished. This can be applied to the idea of a crushing negativity, smothering the flame, or the fact that the sparkler has come to the end of its’ stem, a nod to the women experiencing abuse, feeling as though their spark has been put out or they are running out of time.
The same can be said for the use of a mirror, something that is often used to beautify or put together your appearance, is now being used to cautiously re-examine herself. Her expression appears apprehensive, as she guardedly tilts the reflective surface. This discusses how it is sometimes difficult to recognize yourself after experiencing any form of mental or physical abuse. This also speaks to the shame of her past and the consuming grasp and detrimental impact this embeds on the psyche.
There is a calming quality when we view the next images in Gabriela’s series. These images pursued the viewer that there is something to prepare for, a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking at the image of the tea light encased in the glass mason jar; it feels protected, like the flame cannot be blown out. While it may be small, it is there, and the woman in the image clenches onto it, tightly. The flame, a metaphor of courage, livelihood and hope, ensconced in its’ casing.
The feathers indicative of her past no longer weighing her down - releasing the feathers and blowing them feeling like a therapeutic approach, transforming the situation, reversing the roles, the woman in this series, taking control - realizing she is empowered.