In commemoration of the International Women's Week we have opened a new exhibition on the fourth floor of Cloudworks Sagrada Familia. For a few months you can teleport yourself to the heart of Africa thanks to the artist Marina Formoso. She defines herself as a journalist, voice actress and Mareseme. For four years she worked for a magazine in London and now she has joined a graphic design studio where she delivers coffees, assists in the production of projects and shoots and edits videos.
"Photojournalism" - she confesses to us. - "is not present in this biography because I have never dared to dedicate myself to this profession, as I have not dared to so many other things, but my camera is here by my side waiting for me to have the guts. In the meantime I also dedicate my free time to the craft of voice narrating stories and audiobooks."
To learn more about her work "Mammas", exhibited at Cloudworks Sagrada Família, check out her interview:
What motivated you to create this exhibition?
In 2018 I was out of work and a colleague, with whom we always discuss feminism, told me that why not take advantage of this impasse of time to train myself on the subject by seeing how other women lived in other parts of the world. It seemed like a good idea, so I started looking for local organizations that worked with women and, after considering several options, I ended up in southern Malawi with Youth Coalition and Democracy (YCD). When I was already in the village I could not help but notice the mothers carrying their babies on their backs and breastfeeding them anywhere and at any time. This personally surprised me a lot because in Spain, and in Western countries in general, what I have seen is that mothers either move away from the place where they are to breastfeed or they cover themselves. Also at that time there was quite a stir in social networks because there were many cases of mothers who were criticized for breastfeeding in public. So the reality of Malawi was so different that I thought that portraying it would give an example of how to naturalize something like breastfeeding.
What do you want to convey with your photographs?
I would like breastfeeding to be seen as the natural act that it is. I understand that a woman's breast is sexualized and that is why it is so embarrassing to see it and show it outside of a sexual context, but we need to remember that it is also the main source of nourishment for the breastfeeding baby. I think thinking more pragmatically would be good for all of us. When a colleague in the organization jokingly told me that "If you don't breastfeed, the child won't shut up" what he is doing is being pragmatic and seeing the breast, or simply not paying attention to it, for what it is: a way of nourishment for the baby and not a sexual object. Or at least we should not mix contexts.
Why did you call the exhibition "Mammas"?
I called it "Mammas" because in one word the concepts of mother and mammary gland are united and in the end, this exhibition, and a bit of a joke, is about breasts and mothers.
Can you share with us an anecdote from your experience in Malawi that has marked your life?
This naturalness with which women in Malawi breastfeed is one of the best lessons I took away from the country. But leaving the context of the exhibition, I was very surprised that there, where homosexuality is punishable, men, when they are really close friends and partners, hold hands. I saw it very often. I think that in Spain, where there is sexual freedom, you would never see two heterosexuals holding hands precisely because they would not want to be labeled as gay, but in Malawi, it has nothing to do with sexuality but with companionship. I attach a picture taken at a parade during prisoner's day. Interestingly, they have a prisoner's day there where they have a parade and put on a show for the Minister of Home Affairs.
From your experience in Malawi what do you think we could learn and replicate in the Cloudworks community to achieve this?
What a complicated answer! I guess the best thing to do would be to ask mothers and fathers what they need to make it easier to reconcile the baby's breastfeeding stage. I think that in Spain the reconciliation of family and work is a pending issue from both the public and private sectors.
Enjoy this amazing exhibition on the fourth floor of Cloudworks Sagrada Familia!