this feminist platform wants to represent artists of every gender, colour and creed
As she prepares to launch Curated By GIRLS’s first IRL exhibition, we talk to founder Laetitia Duveau about female empowerment and the beauty of freedom.
Born in the south of France, Laetitia Duveau travelled to Paris at sweet 17 to pursue a career in music. However, after a contract dispute with a big label she was forced to reevaluate her life calling. Four months ago she teamed up with photographer and friend Ophelie Rondeau to launch Curated By GIRLS, an online platform dedicated to championing the works of young artists. Unlike most all-girl art collectives, Curated By GIRLS aims to represent artists of every gender, colour, and creed. Although feminist bent, the girls wanted to create a more realistic vision of humanity, one that doesn't distinguish between or discriminate against the sexes. Now based in Berlin, Laetitia runs CBG by herself and is currently working on the platform's first IRL exhibition titled Freer in Berlin. Featuring the work of 25 artists from all around the world, the exhibition focuses around the theme of "new femininity". What does it mean to be feminine in a world where gender is fluid? Here, Laetitia shares her views on female empowerment and the beauty of freedom.
What's the story behind Curated by GIRLS?
Curated By GIRLS started about four months ago. My friend Ophelie Rondeau (photographer) had this idea of setting up a website about diversity, and asked me if I wanted to join. After two months, Ophelie quit CBG to focus on her own projects, and I took the decision to keep going on my own. I felt it was important to continue for the artists and for me as well. Being a curator has helped me seeing things clearer. I am much freer than I have ever been. There is a need for CBG because artists are too important to let down. They fight against discrimination, against sexism, racism with their art! They stand for humanity. They show their soul! We can't live without creation. I want to help them understand how important they are.
Most all-girl initiatives focus solely on curating the work of girls, why is it that you are choosing to focus on all genders?
Focusing only on girls would be restrictive. With CBG I want to represent everyone, all genders, all generations, all ethnicities, focusing on diversity, equality and girl power. I want everyone to be able to submit to the platform no matter who they are. I see human beings as a whole! A diverse but united world! We are all the same. I see Curated By GIRLS as a unique platform, a unique patchwork representing a vision of humanity.
Should one's gender determine one's art?
It shouldn't necessarily but it can. It depends on what the artist wants to show and express. Some artists are concentrating on showing their gender as a difference, and this is helping other people accept themselves. To me, real artists are honest, true and free.
How do you choose which artists to exhibit online?
I have 2 ways. One is the spontaneous submissions I receive. The other way is checking magazines, Instagram, and other social networks. Whenever I fall in love with an artwork, I get in touch with the artist and ask if they want to be featured. There are so many talented artists out there! It's amazing. I choose art that touches me. I follow my instinct.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me is mainly about freedom. Women should be free to be whatever they want & they should be respected. I don't think our society is treating women well. I also think society is treating most of us badly. Not just women. Our codes and values are wrong. My contribution to feminism is to show beautiful work from all genders and help them be accepted, and respected as human beings!
Feminism is part of the cultural conversation in a way it's never been before why do you think this is?
It's an important theme in our society. Some people say it is a trend, and it has become one, of course, like everything else nowadays unfortunately. But it's more than that obviously! It's a fight for better life conditions. Women are not inferior to men! I guess more and more people realize society has to evolve drastically if we want to live better! Feminism is part of that change.
What do you feel about this idea of feminism as a trend, that it's suddenly become cool to talk about?
To me, what is important is to be honest in everything you do.
What's the hardest part of being a woman?
That painful week every month…kills me every time.
What can we expect to see in it?
25 artists from around the world have been selected and will represent the theme "New Femininity". You will be able to see great artwork, and an amazing diversity! The pieces will explore the reaction to exploitative representation of women and destabilise the power structures surrounding gender and identity. Artists will have prints and other works on sale at affordable price. I encourage as many people as possible to come and support artists.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I hope I can still be doing what I am doing now with more impact.
Curated by GIRLS's 1st IRL Show FREER IN BERLIN will take place in Neukölln district, at Studio Blender & Co (Boddinstr. 32, 12053 Berlin), on October 8th - 9th, 2016.
Text Tish Weinstock