Suspended State. The exhibition to talk about viol...

Suspended State. The exhibition to talk about violence against women during the lockdown

According to the World Health Organization, every form of psychological, physical, sexual abuse and the various forms of coercive behavior exercised to emotionally control a person who is part of the family can be categorized as domestic violence. The already sadly high percentage of violence perpetrated against women within their homes (according to statistics from a study by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund) has recorded an increase in aggression and feminicides of 20% in all States members during the first three months of confinement caused by the global emergency from Covid-19.

The exhibition Suspended State, in reference precisely to this suspended state of domestic confinement, wants to put the spotlight on the languages ​​of contemporary art – and in particular those of the artists Valentina Rosa (Italy) and Nikita Sacha (Philippines) this issue, now more relevant than ever. The idea comes from the female curatorial collective of a.topos, based in Venice, composed of Hesperia Iliadou de Subplajo-Suppiej (Cyprus), Fernanda Andrade (Brazil), and Lucia Trevisan (Venice). In order to carry out the exhibition, the team launched a campaign to raise the necessary funds on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.

We met the three curators to learn more about the project (but also to talk about other initiatives that will involve important artists and activists for women’s rights).

Laura Guarnier: The lockdown period was tough for everyone, and even the art and culture sector – certainly underestimated in its importance – was affected a lot. How did you come, post lockdown, to the decision to start again with “Suspended State”, an exhibition that deals precisely with the delicate issue of gender violence, by launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter? When and where would you like to be able to organize the exhibition?
Atopos: Despite all the challenges we have faced as a global community this year, a.topos has done its very best to continue giving visibility to emerging artists and to promote socially engaged art. Since one of the most shocking issues the Covid-19 lockdown disclosed was the alarming increase in domestic violence, we feel like the issue of gender violence must be addressed now more than ever. Suspended State aims to raise awareness against gender-based violence and exposes the complexities of female bodies and the narratives they tell.Considering art as a fundamental form of activism, we have decided to launch the exhibition proposal on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter not only to raise the funds but also to socially engage the audience in the process. Supporters will back the project because they believe in the cause.

LG: In the evocative and poetic work of Nikita Sacha and Valentina Rosa we often see the female body as protagonist. What kind of exhibition would be “Suspended State”?
A: Both artists focus their researches on women, exploring the theme either from an emotional, relational, or physical point of view. Nikita is mainly interested in relationships and their emotional dynamics, in how we subject each other to a kind of destruction, as well as in the burden of societal expectations on women. Valentina focuses on the female figure exploring the collective and individual identities and the possible dialogues between those identities/otherness or those identities/the body.Therefore, the works of the two artists, in their own way, are strongly connected to the exhibition thematic and to each other.

LG: In the series of works by the artists there seem to be two opposing tensions: on the one hand a shaded area, the testimony of serious damage suffered, and on the other a glimmer of light, the ability to heal and regain one’s psychophysics integrity . After all, Rosa’s alter ego in the “Re-build” series seems to recompose her shards after a break, and the ropes that left their marks on the flesh photographed by Nikita Sacha’s works in “Phantom Limbs” have melted. How will the works dialogue with each other?
A: In our curatorial narrative it is exactly the contrast between the imprints of the destructive nature of dependence and the struggle for emancipating oneself that bonds the artworks of Nikita Sacha and Valentina Rosa in a sensitive and strong dialogue. While Phantom Limbs brings out a certain melancholia and, as the artist puts, “the quiet violence of being” that run through her work, Valentina’s Sentire presents us with the acknowledgment of the impossibility of communication, paving the way to arrive at the hope conveyed by Ri-costruirsi. The show draws the narrative of a path crossed by so many victims of abuse, and the artworks represent steps (difficult and/or brave ones) of it.

LG: In your project there is a parallel initiative, “Twice as Good, Half as Well”, which will take place online on your social channels, where we have seen you very active in the quarantine months. Can you give us some anticipation?
A: “Twice as good, half as well” is also an extraordinarily strong project we are eager to launch on the 31st of July on our media channels. It approaches the same main topic of Suspended State – gender based violence in any form, either harassment or abuse – but in this specific case, we invited exclusively female artists whose artworks are vicine al femminismo e/o al tema della discriminazione/violenza  di genere and, therefore, contribute to reinforce the fight against the last. We are extremely pleased with the response we had from all the participating artists – in fact, we can go even further and say that we are honored – to have worked with such talented women! For this project’s closure, we will be hosting an online conversation between the Brazilian visual artist and human rights activist Panmela Castro and Sophie Sandberg (founder of Catcalls of NYC, a very bright and innovative initiative to fight street harassment through public chalk art) about methods of resistance against gender-based violence and the role of Art in promoting political, social and/or cultural change. It will take place most probably on August 9th.

LG: How long will it be possible to go to Kickstarter and support your curatorial initiative?
A: The campaign was launched on the platform on the 8th of July and it is possible to support the initiative until the 6th of September. Any contribution is welcome! Supporters that have the possibility to give a contribution of 25 euros or more can choose on the platform to receive a tote bag of the exhibition (printed with different feminists’ quotes). For any private or public sponsorship of the project, the person or institution may contact us directly through for more information.


Suspended State: Nikita Sacha, Phantom LimbsNikita Sacha, Phantom Limbs, 2012

Nikita Sacha, Phantom Limbs, 2012

Nikita Sacha, Phantom Limbs, 2012

Valentina Rosa, Ri-costruirsi, 2017

Valentina Rosa, Ri-costruirsi, 2017


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