SANCTUARY is a Self-portrait series performance inspired by the tragic story of Elvira Orlandini. “La bella Elvira” was a beautiful woman who was brutally raped and murdered in the Italian village of Palaia in 1947. Her body was discovered in the forest with multiple stabs, wounds and her throat had been slit. There never was justice for Elvira since her case remained unresolved, they never found the guilty. At the entrance of the town by the road you can still see a memorial with a photo of her.
The images were created through the artist own imagination portraying the spirit body of Elvira that still roams through the forest and village. She cannot rest in peace because she never had justice. But it is not only Elvira’s spirit who we see depicted but the echo of all women who suffer injustice every day, women who still have to fight to be heard and be seen. These pictures make the beholder reflect upon the violence that women experience and challenges the idea of perceiving women as just victims when they actually are survivors, warriors, queens, flowers who will still bloom in spite of the suffering and the trials endured. The tragedy relies in the reality that not all get to live, some will forever wander and meander the world, unable to rest, never finding justice and peace.
The series delves into the idea of the naked truth. Rape and sexual assault are not pretty or glamorous, the unvarnished truth is raw and vile and despicable. It is naked and exposed for the viewer to feel and see, to experience the vulnerability of women. It can’t be ignored or overlooked because the uncovered truth is starring right back.