Included in: Brooklyn 2013
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Arantxa Cedillo: Broken Rules

Artist’s Statement:

Broken Rules is a project that speaks of the power of women in Nepal. All the women in this project share one characteristic: to be the first women to have broken rules in their native Nepal. They are representatives of change.

During my time living in Kathmandu I often heard stories of discrimination towards women. I wanted to work on the issue of violence and discrimination against women by choosing a group of women working in different fields who fight for their rights in a highly conservative society.

My inspiration to use handmade backdrops came from seeing old photographs that I often found in people’s houses. These photographs are always placed in special corners of houses and usually the people photographed wear traditional clothes and display very serious expressions.

I decided to reverse that common form of portraiture, allowing each woman to represent herself in her portrait, thereby opening a visual debate of what being a woman means in a changing society like Nepal. The series was shot in a studio setting and I enjoyed the creative challenge of taking photos of people in a restricted frame: using the traditional handmade backdrops forced me and the women to explore new ways of portraiture.

The photographs include short statements by each woman to highlight their work and carry messages of inspiration, frustration or change.

I hope my series will bring attention to the actions that different women take to stop the various forms of violence against women in Nepal.

Artist’s Bio:

Barcelona, Spain

Born in Madrid in 1977, she studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. She entered the photography industry a decade ago and has spent the last four years living and travelling in Asia, including Cambodia, Bangladesh, Laos and Nepal.

Her photographs have been published in The New York Times, Time, GEO, CNN, The Australian, Colors, Kulturmagazin, The Sunday Times Magazine and El País Semanal, among others. She has collaborated extensively with organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration.

Cedillo has won several international awards, including the Ian Parry Award, the Magenta Foundation’s Emerging Photographers Award and the Alexandra Boulat Scholarship TPW and her work has been widely exhibited in galleries in Australia, Canada, Japan, Cambodia, England, The United States and Spain.