When someone hears “WOMANIFESTO” for the first time, they cannot understand what it is about. Although the play on the word Manifesto is surprising, it does not go unnoticed that it is a partnership of thirty women, from different fields, each of whom writes her own declaration.
Behind this idea is the visual artist, Efi Spyrou, who decided to invite important personalities, from various fields, such as theater, book writing, poetry, politics, to join their forces and their voices and send a voice message. The thirty women write their own manifesto on one page and everything comes together in a mosaic film. The names that have been invited and took part in this project are important. Among them, the Speaker of the Parliament, Annita Dimitriou, but also other ambassadors of this idea.
WOMANIFESTO also comes at a time when the news about violence against women has unfortunately increased quite a bit, which gives it another dimension. “WOMANIFESTO happens in a dark time but is a work beyond topicality, beyond ephemeral commentary and projection. It lays the foundations of pluralism, coexistence, care and freedom at all levels. Obviously it is a work-fruit of its time but at this very moment it hovers in an intermediate space that is in the now-ahead and sheds light on a future full of liberating vitality, strength and optimism”.
The woman who behind the specific project talks to REPORTER and explains how the idea came about, the issues that develop through this particular effort and the messages sent through WOMANIFESTO.
What is WOMANIFESTO and how did the idea come about
Thirty women joined forces and created WOMANIFESTO, a mosaic of thirty different manifestos. Thirty different stories.
“WOMANIFESTO is the first mosaic film of different manifestos, written and presented by female creators, by invitation. It is the first collective work composed of manifestos of women without racial, ethnic, religious, age or other limitations.
I invite female creators from all creative fields (artists, directors, actors, dancers, writers, poets, architects, etc.) asking each of them to write their own manifesto on a page of paper, in any form of text-poem/story/script/lyrics, words or songs and/or to choreograph a work in case they are dancers/choreographers/performers. Through our dialogue, an agreed scenario emerges so that each artist can deliver her personal manifesto on camera during one minute.
In the first two parts of the project WOMANIFESTO I & II I invite 30 women creators and thus a mosaic-film emerges from a 30-minute manifesto.
As for the idea of this project now I would say that it has its roots in time but the right moment, the right moment, came in time of pandemic. The period of incarceration was a favorable condition for me to create – the many noises and obligations stopped – and to delve into issues that had been preoccupying me for a long time”.
“How, who and how much can measure our value? What are the factors that influence or determine the value of each of us? Who “has” more value than someone else and why? How, who and why gives or takes away value from an artist and their work? Is the value of the artist and his work when the value of the human being is abolished or overlooked?
All these questions and their developments awakened memories of personal history and gave birth to a personal manifesto which took the form of a solo exhibition in the enclosure of a building in the center of Athens in June 2020. A part of my manifesto – which was recorded and heard in a magnifying glass from inside the building – it was about composing a poem from numbers and instructions. The raw material of this project is found in the years I worked as an in-house model in Haute Couture Fashion Houses. Every day I was on a podium where we were measured and given instructions to produce the new clothing collection of each House. Of course, after 15 years, this experience was transformed, transformed and now opened in all directions to convey socio-political messages that concern all of us. With the completion of my exhibition, the need to bring my own manifesto into dialogue with other artists' manifestos was already born. How could my manifesto interact with the voices of other women from around the world? In what way and under what circumstances could this happen?
I envisioned a forest of different voice-trees that would each be autonomous but would receive messages and nourishment from the roots of the other voice-trees. Thus arose the idea of the nursery/greenhouse – a constructed space where all species thrive and new sprouts are cultivated under the proper conditions of nourishment, care and growth.
In October 2021 we filmed the first part of WOMANIFESTO in the greenhouse of the Agricultural University of Athens with 15 creators and at the same time this year we filmed the second part of the project with another 15 creators from Greece, Cyprus and Israel”.
The production time of
The specific project is divided into two parts, while the timing of its production cannot be considered a coincidence and therefore, the messages it sends are important.
“I would like this project to develop rhizomatically and grow with more manifestos of artists from all over the world. I hope the next part will take place in Cyprus, for personal, artistic and socio-political reasons. I believe that Cyprus can become a symbol-nursery of artistic creation and free expression.
Everything that is coming to the surface now is not something that has only happened in the last few years. Violence and slavery in any form for any gender or nationality (racial exclusion, sexual subjugation, nationalism) have their roots very deep in time in human history. As well as the resistance to them, culminating in the social and political movements of the 60s. Yes, WOMANIFESTO happens in a dark time but it is a work beyond topicality, beyond ephemeral commentary and projection. It lays the foundations of pluralism, coexistence, care and freedom at all levels. Obviously it is a work-fruit of its time but at this very moment it hovers in an intermediate space that is in the now-ahead and sheds light on a future full of liberating vitality, power and optimism.
Women were not only breadwinners but also hunters since ancient times and this is the role they are called to play in this work. In a collective effort we want to wake up and redefine our lives with respect, love and vision for ourselves and others – anyone else”.
The themes that emerge through WOMANIFESTO
“Artists focus on social, political, existential issues. They ask questions about our origin, our humanity, memory and loss, power, environment, land and language, the Other – the unknown or the familiar, trauma and liberation, Love”.< /p>
Several women, who are important in their field, such as actors, writers, poets, participate in this project. Among them is Annita Dimitriou.
“Important for me is every existence that has a vision for life and art and wants to share it with others with care, tenderness and respect. The first two manifestos came about after my own invitation to the artists or Ambassadors of the project, but the path to get to them was long many times, passing through many different sources and people who believed and still believe in the project.
The main pillars of the project are art, environment and politics. After the artists were invited and the first Ambassador of the project Dr. Xenia Loizidou, a coastal engineer with great activist activity in environmental issues and not only, there was a need for the participation of another Ambassador who would give the project a manifest view from the perspective of politics. The Speaker of the Parliament, in addition to her position as a politician, is known for her great voluntary contribution and her sensitivity to social issues and gender issues – recently, with her own proposal for a law, the term “feminicide” was introduced by amending the Criminal Code. There could not be a better collaboration than this after our first meeting in the Parliament where with love and empathy she embraced both me and the project.
Get ready to be a part and support WOMANIFESTO III, in Cyprus and there are many surprises, they are part of the creative process of any form”.