Me(s), French Woman

Ab Origine Fidelis

some days ago, i have participated to Olivier Vinot ‘s project, Ab Origine Fidelis.

His idea is to leave a trace of us (Asian French people) that is true to our origins. not to forget where we come from. so for me who works on a trans-generational project, it kind of talks to me!

at the same time, this picture has another effect on me. 2 other effects to be correct.

> my relationship to my image is changing : first I did not recognize myself. i look like… a woman. not pausing, not making faces, not seducing, not smiling, just… nothing. and out of that nothingness, this thing is emerging.  I see myself as a grown up, a woman, but a woman that does not need to seduce. and thus, even if I don’t recognize myself (yet), I trust Olivier to capture something good about me : and i like this idea to grow up/old very much.

nb1 : the other day, I went to Tâm’s school end of the year festival. it is a kind of humanist, bourgeois, parisian school. so i can imagine it is different in other places, but it was as striking as factual : we all dress up the same way between 10 and 50! it is totally crazy but true! and it does go with an early sexualisation, on the contrary, it can be rock n’ roll and elegant (twisted stipes, white stan smiths, ample and “essential” dresses). I felt awkward about that situation. my daughter is growing up, i love seeing her wearing my clothes on, but i don’t want to look or pretend i’m young anymore. i don’t people to tell “oh you look like sisters”. i would hate that. i am going to re-think of what I wear.

nb2 : the other day (another one), I was making a conference for  a big cosmetic group. i wore a lipstick. i hd to. and I did not find i was ugly, on the contrary, I found myself prettier with than without it, but still, i felt i had to wear it, like a man would have to wear a suit : it was a professional gesture. it was not about pleasure. it is the first time i feel that. and that also is changing my relationship to my image.

well, let’s go to the 2nd effect, shall we?!

> this image is also a political statement. We were discussing about it with a Maghreb French friend of mine, for whom it is far mor difficult than for me, but it is really something for us to say “I am French”. i go further : my ancestors are not gaulois but/and i am french. this portrait is thus, also a face of France. My father came with a one-way ticket when he was 17 (a child!!!) to flee from war; my mum was arriving from Tunisia where her father was a diplomat and could not back “home” during 30 years. I feel a lot of gratitude for “my” country to have welcomed people who were in lethal danger. and I have the desire to enrich it, but not by diluting my identity, no! to enrich it with my whole singularity (that is neither white, nor gaulois).

so even though in mutation, even though in transition, even though while not being what others would wait us to be or look, we should not hesitate to show who we are! the world is rich of us!

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