the witch and the female monstrous
Bruxa / Bruxaria / Brixtia
Bruxa is a digital illustration project that tackles different facets of the female monstrous, through the lenses of fear and the unconscious. This is part of a multimedia project that investigates the female identity and the witch persona in Portugal and Brazil, raising questions related to ancestry, colonisation and the deviant. Here, you will find some illustrated gifs that navigate these muddy waters.
Being a monster
Realising how women have been othered as a group has brought me to question how we are not only seen as the deviant, but how we are also looking at ourselves through that lens. Being gazed at is so rooted in us that we sometimes don’t even realise it.
I want to reclaim these lenses. To be subject and not object. I want to explore not how we are monstrous through the eye of the norm, but to explore our own monstrosity, our inner fears, our deepest thoughts, our subjectivity.
This individuality of the subject is, I must emphasise, also very connected to our identity as a group. What are the consequences of being preceded by generations and generations of being othered? How has being objectified for thousands of years affected us still?
Nightmares, Trauma and the Unconscious
Pesadelos are about the fears of the unconscious. In this series, I explore how these fears are connected to the history of being female. How many of us share these fears that span across timelines, generations and consciousness?
Belonging to a long line of women who have been undermined, harassed, dehumanised and objectified, I am left wondering how this history affects who I am - and who we are. Does this history leave us with traumas that we perhaps face only in our unconscious states?
Exploring the imagery of these manifestations of the unconscious is a way to reclaim these fears, and bring them to light. My Nightmares are now focused on generational trauma, rape culture in colonisation, insubmission and undesirability vs fetishisation. Perhaps by facing these issues and how they may still manifest on us, we can better understand and deal with this legacy. In Pesadelos, we are protagonists, instead of the monstrous other that has been objectified and cast aside.
This process of diving into the depths of unconsciousness, as well as exploring and understanding our social connections and constructions, is one of the many facets to be looked at when it comes to understanding the female monstrous. With this small set of works, I want to invite you to reflect on how your individuality is conditioned by your ancestry. And to investigate yourself what aspects of being monstrous you can see in yourself, then decide how to embrace or reject them.
As for me, I also want to explore this issue further. I have a long history of witch hunting in my country to investigate, and I wonder how I can translate this onto my self-expression. I am now heading towards an academic research, at the same time that I am dipping my toes into crafting objects as well as digital content - all under the developments of Bruxa.
Artwork: Lola Ramos (she/her)
Thank you to Sibling Collaborative for your support!
This project was commissioned by Sibling Collaborative LTD as part of Sibling Series: Witches and Bitches
Page Design: Mia Quimpo Gourlay (she/her) and Lola Ramos (she/her)
Facilitated by: Madalena Miles (she/her)