About Philomela's Self-Birth Ritual

The Greek Myth of Philomela is a complex ancient story of patriarchal construction, in which woman is fundamentally portrayed as weak victim, culpable and evil.

Looking back into history, society has often opposed itself to the female. This has created a culture in which important domains such as art and literature have upheld and perpetuated such vision.

As a woman and artist I feel it is very important to radically transform those narratives: by empathising with female characters and through the use of my creativity my attempt is that of trying to help change how  humans (as audience members) might view and interpret female characters.​ From this personal drive, the idea of creating a performance in honour of Philomela came to me. 

 

This hypothetical performance which I have expressed through Set and Costume design consists of a self-birth ritual in which the character of Philomela gives birth to herself, a female self that she herself choses. It is a Self with an important political function: allowing the audience to see how much strength and inner resources women have in creating a positive fate, a positive story for themselves.

For this, I applied my previously designed "Self-Love Costume". By wearing the Self-Love Costume Philomela heals the wounds of female history, and stands by all women since the beginning of patriarchy. ​ 

 

The aim of this design-led performance is that of showing a Philomela who becomes much stronger than the myth itself: she re-writes herself as a powerful yet gentle testimony of women's emancipation from mythological texts.

The ritual's scenography contains highly meaningful symbols: feathers, which represent freedom and a new spiritual beginning; the pomegranate, which in this contexts symbolises body and soul nourishment for the female (and a turning against female's accusation of sin, as represented in myths such as Adam and Eve, or female punishment in the myth of Persephone's abduction).

Another important scenographic element is the textured brown Mother Nature's womb, which functions as protector of the ritual. 

The four other creatures you can see are supportive characters for Philomela's Self-Birth process: there is the healing Gemstones Wizard, the healing Lady-of-the-soothing Herbs Water, the Phone-to-Heart connector and the Self-Love potion as characters.

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