Since then, women have been mistreated, discriminated against, and, most importantly, underestimated. Society has imposed limitations on women, such as not finishing their studies since they will stay home and do house chores. That stereotype does not work anymore, and women can do everything that men can do; they are not solely responsible for raising children and taking care of the home.
FilipinoArt.ph is participating in the month-long celebration of women in March. The theme, “Women in Art: Exploring the Experiences and Perspectives of Female Artists and their Place in the Art World,” highlights the female artists’ experiences and engagement with the greater art community. This theme inspires us to consider the special difficulties female artists confront, and how their work contributes to a broader discussion about gender and representation in art. It aims to highlight the many viewpoints and experiences of female artists and to recognize their contributions to the field of art.
Meet Carla Norberta Francisco, a driven individual who once desired to be an architect. She discovered her genuine passion was in an entirely other subject as she studied for the board exam. Since then, Carla has boldly pursued her goal of working as a full-time visual artist. Carla is determined to succeed and establish herself in the art world despite the difficulties of a career change. Her path is a testimony to the power of striving after the things that make us truly happy.
How has being a female artist impacted your identity as an artist and a woman?
“As a female artist, I can express and explore my thoughts, emotions, and even desires through painting and creating through the lenses of a woman–a lesbian at that. I can share who I am and what it means to be a lesbian as a female artist. I also get to connect better with the audience, as they often note what they love about my work are the emotions and that one can feel the expressions through the strokes. I attribute this to my being a female artist and not being afraid to show my heart with every work I do.”
What role does art have in your life as a woman?
“As a woman, art is my voice, my passion, my form of configuring life; art is my livelihood, art is my way of showing who I am, and art is my way of connecting with the world.”
Can you tell us about any specific challenges you’ve faced as a female artist in your career?
“One of the biggest challenges is the general struggle that probably a lot, if not most, women deal with: the struggle of not having that air or bravado that often comes easily to most men. As far as the world has come, it is very blatant how women are still not considered in the same league as men. Women must always work harder, do more, make more, and stand out more before they are considered to be something great–or even good. So, this gives the conditioning of always questioning yourself if you are good enough of worthy of anyone’s time because it’s not so easy to carry yourself with full confidence and pride that you are someone to look out for.
Are there any female artists who have inspired or influenced your work? Who is it, and how?
“Yes. I have been inspired by many young Filipino female artists making their marks in today’s art scene. Rafaelle Louise and Bruha Ireland are two examples of them– my first art purchases were also from them, which were huge in my full leap to becoming a visual artist.
How do you feel your identity as a woman has influenced your artistic style and subject matter?
“As I have viewed the world from a woman’ eyes since the day I was born, this gives a different perspective on how I see life. Then later, on coming to terms with being a lesbian, another layer is added to my worldview. This womanhood has influenced my artistic style and subject matter, as my womanhood has always been embodied by simply being myself, which makes my art truly my own.”
Can you talk about a specific painting of yours and the story behind it?
“Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower series inspired this piece. This was a process of navigating through heavy emotions of longing, grieving, pain, and sadness–and the realization that all of these are simply a product of love. We only mourn something if we have first loved it. We get hurt because we care, yearn, adore, and feel sad because we know what happiness is. The blues, the yellows, they’re all the same. Love is the root of all.”
In your opinion, what can be done to improve the representation and recognition of female artists in the art world?
“Of course, a given is simply to support one another. All artists support other artists. But also, it is nice that women are in positions of art curating, art critiquing, gallery managing, museums because these open a lot of doors for many talented creative women who would have probably just been shut down in earlier times.”
What advice would you give young women aspiring to pursue an arts career?
“If you choose to pursue the arts, pursue it with a whole heart, a strong will, incredible stamina, humility, and, most importantly, an infinite supply of love for yourself. Because whenever it feels as if no one can understand, who supports, or who sees, the only person to help you through is you.”
Being a female artist has allowed Carla to connect with her audience, express herself through a woman’s perspective, and display her feelings in her work. She considers art an essential component of her femininity and a means of expression.
Lack of acknowledgment in the art industry is one of the main problems female artists experience, which may be resolved by encouraging one another and having more women in positions of authority.
Young women who want to work in the arts must pursue their goals with passion, dedication, humility, and self-love. – Toby Denise Concepcion