Dorota Holubová /SK/ – Atlas of Women
6.3. – 21.4.2019
On most portraits, we do not see the women’s faces. They must be protected – from their
former partners, by whom they are constantly endangered. The only exception is a large
mosaic composed of nothing but their eyes. These are the eyes of women who have defied
their abusers and decided to find themselves again. However, they are also accusing eyes,
bearing witness to society’s indifference and to the institutions they turned to in need, the
latter having either swept their problems under the rug or refused to believe them or
refrained from acting according to the letter of the law. Women only end up in these shelters
once all other options have been exhausted.
The women’s shelters that the author visited are scattered across Slovakia, and this was the
original inspiration for the project’s title – ATLAS OF WOMEN. In reality, the photographs,
portraits and quotes we see at the exhibition are an atlas of the population at large. They
reflect how society treats its most vulnerable members. We must therefore raise engaged
questions, and above all act in an engaged manner whenever we witness any form of
violence on women. So that we may look in their eyes without shame.
Women experiencing violence aren´t different from us, nor are they strange. They´re
women who go to work, raise children, take care of the household, and have their needs,
dreams and desires. They´re our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and colleagues.
They do not choose abuse. Their partners and husbands are the one who choose to be
abusive. However, all women have one wish – they want the abuse to stop; they want
someone to step in and make the violence they´re experiencing stop. Being in contact with
women experiencing violence teaches us to respect the diversity of human experience and
its emotional experiencing. When the phone rings in our counselling centre, there´s a
woman on the other side who has decided to talk about her private life, her suffering, her
fear, her feelings and her needs. Sometimes, it´s a woman who needs someone to talk to;
someone who will listen to her without judgement and prejudice and who will believe her.
At other times, it´s a woman who fears for her life, needs to protect herself and needs to
go to a safe place together with her children to survive.
“Atlas of Women” offers a unique look at the world of women experiencing violence that is
often hidden and invisible, even though it is an everyday reality of many women and
[Dušana, Sylvia, Zuzana] Fenestra