This weekend, a feminist art collective Curated by Girls had its first IRL exhibition in Berlin. We chatted to the founder and curator Laetitia Duveau about intersectionality, representation, and sexism.
Curated by Girls is an online art collective founded to promote young talents from all around the world. Albeit being curated by girls only, the project is inclusive of any gender, race, or age. Through the platform, CbG is embracing diversity, self-exploration and refusal to follow the normative roles of our society.
For the first time ever, the collective hosted an offline exhibition in the vibrant Neukölln neighborhood in Berlin. Over 20 upcoming artists presented their idea of what ‘new femininity’ meant to them, based on exploring the ever-present exploitation and subjection of women. Spread out over the walls of what seemed to be a nice flat rather than a gallery, the artworks—mostly photographs—were accompanied by loud chatter and funky music. The diverse crowd, which gathered in masses both outside and inside, almost seemed to have just jumped out of the pictures. Perhaps that made the night seem more like a performance than just an exhibition – a performance of radical deconstruction of what being feminine had meant until now, and coming up with new definitions and ways of doing so.
Before that magical evening happened, we caught up with Curated by Girls’ founder and the exhibition’s curator Laetitia.
First of all, I have to say that I’ve had my eyes peeled on Curated by Girls ever since I first read about it, which is quite a while ago already! I was really excited that someone is creating a supportive and all-inclusive art space which represents all the values I myself believe in.
Thank you! <3
Where did the idea to found Curated by Girls come from?
5 months ago, my friend Ophelie Rondeau, a professional photographer, came up with the idea to put up a platform about visual arts and diversity. She asked me if I wanted to get on board, and I immediately said yes. Then Ophelie had to quit to focus on her career. And I decided to keep going! And here I am organizing my 1st IRL show.
You claim that you “want to include every gender, ethnicity, body type and generation in the work you feature”. How do you achieve the needed representation and intersectionality?
I want everyone to be able to submit to the platform. I don’t care about who they are and where the artists come from. CBG is a website about equality, respect and freedom. Everyone has a chance to be represented.
In one interview, you said that “Being all about girls is not our priority”. What is your view on feminist spaces that outright state that they are for women only?
I see humans as a whole. We are all partly female and partly male, so why focus only on girls? This is quite restrictive and I feel like everyone should be able to get a chance to get their work featured no matter the gender. CBG is really about positivity and respect. There is not just one way to be feminine. I also wanna give a voice to queer, non-binary people. The world is not just one gender, or body type…it’s diverse!
Sexism in the music industry has been widely discussed lately, but it’s, sadly, very present in the whole cultural scene. Have you experienced it yourself since working on Curated by Girls (or in your work life in general)?
I am a musician myself so I know how sexist it is in this business! But thanks to movements and platforms like CBG, I guess we are joining forces and fighting against the male gaze and these old-school stereotypes.
Of course I select artists that have meaningful and respectful messages. Feminism is one of the important fights and Curated By Girls is contributing to it through Art.
On the other hand, do you feel like you have influenced the community in a positive way? I bet you have received a lot of affirmative recognition!
I have been amazed by the positive enthusiasm around CBG. I am pretty new to it, only started 5 months ago and I’m already organizing an exhibit. It’s a great surprise and I’m thrilled that it inspires and encourages artists to explore and create.
You just held your first IRL exhibition in Berlin this weekend. Could you tell us a bit more about the concept? Why did you decide to hold it in the German capital?
I moved to Berlin 6 months ago and it changed my life. I feel much freer than I’ve ever been. There is a super chill vibe and multi cultural respect here that I haven’t found in other big cities. Partly because of its history, partly because of its cosmopolitan population, it is a place where money isn’t everything. Here people seem more interested in happiness than money. They spend more time learning about themselves than trying to become someone. This obviously encourages them to explore without any pressure for success. And I guess it makes people freer. People take time to discuss the important matters like dysfunctional role of women in our society or the supremacy of the male gaze, refugees, raise of life costs….One day I came across a text written by Keith Telfeyan “Arriving At Berlin State Of Mind” that exactly described how I feel about Berlin. This article completely inspired the name for the exhibition and is featured in the Zine that will be available at the show!
We’re already excited to see more of your work – what are Curated by Girls’s plans once the exhibition’s over?
Well it’s been 5 intense months and especially these last 2. I have put a lot of sweat and tears in organizing this exhibition. I think I’m gonna take a bit of time off after this, to focus on my music Free Free Dom Dom. But of course I wanna keep running CBG as long as possible and organise one exhibition per season. Life is funny. I became a curator by accident but I am now addicted to it and so happy of the positivity I received. It’s so inspiring to be able to share Artists work and be more opened to others! I learned so much! Everyone should experience it!
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