“Clandestinas” portrays the emotional stage of being pregnant with an unwanted being in an environment like Lima, Perú, where abortion is illegal. This project started as a healing process after my abortion four years ago. The fear and lack of protection resulted in an emotional burden that I was looking to abort, completing the physical procedure.
Most of the time, the discussion about abortion’s rights in countries where it is illegal is focused on when life starts. I changed that approach to the women’s emotional and physical situation, a focus that has been missing from all the debates. It is time to direct the discussion to the pregnant bodies. According to a 2018 Promsex survey, 19% of Peruvian women, between the ages of 18 and 49, declared having performed an abortion. 47% was through surgical intervention and 32% with pills. In a context where pregnancy’s interruption is illegal, where you do not own your body, surviving abortion becomes a privilege. This project invites the viewer to submerge themselves in the feeling of carrying an alien embryo while their body keeps changing.
Two materials confront each other in a moment of tension and overwhelming weight. The present knittings, the works in fiber, simulate bodies reappropriating of their uterus. The ceramic pieces present themselves as embryos that become stone, aliens to the knittings. Three installations call the viewer to navigate them: Plaga (Plague); En la Garganta, la Pena (In the throat, the pain); Atrazo Menstrual (Menstrual Delai).
“En la Garganta, la Pena” (In the throat, the pain), the long knitting which becomes a weight through its length exposes the sorrow of hiding a procedure that ended up defining me.
"Atrazo Menstrual" (Menstrual Delai) imagines the precariousness of back-alley and low-cost surgical interventions, from the incorrect spelling of its title to the size, thickness and fragility of the ceramic knitting rods.
The project, exhibited in Forum Gallery, ended with “Virgencita Abortera” (Clandestine Virgin). Virgin Mary is an important symbol in Latin-American culture. She is an icon that has defined what we understand from motherhood, the sacrificed mother, delivered to her children. Through the legalization of the abortion campaign in Argentina, a collective performed the abortion of Jesus. For me, it was time to solidify that idea with a new figure of her, one that identifies my story and the stories from all women and non-gender-conforming bodies that are secluded to resist in illegality.