Everybody has a Story is a conceptual project by occasional TCN contributor Tash Peričić, in collaboration with Split photographer Antea Mrčela-Ljubić.
This exhibition is the realisation of Tash’s long-held dream. Her love of storytelling, sisterhood, and community brought the project to life. Tash grew up in New Zealand and was raised in a Māori community where the importance of community, song, storytelling, and traditional rituals live on. Though it may have been unconscious, the cultural roots certainly influenced the writer in conceiving this multi-dimensional interactive project – which was designed to lift and empower the women who took part in the project. A lot happened behind the scenes to arrive at the photos displayed here.
The connection between Tash and the photographer Antea formed in a photoshoot in which Tash was the muse. Inspired by Antea’s natural grace and ability to make her feel comfortable, and the empowering feeling of the experience, a seed was planted in Tash’s heart, to create a project based around this concept, for other women – one day. And so, it happened. 5 years later, Tash and Antea reconnected and started this project which took on a life of its own. Antea’s gentle nature and attention to human emotion and intimate moments, made her the perfect photographer to realise this project.
Along with Antea and Tash, 10 women from 6 countries (all living in Croatia) aged 20 – 60 years, joined the project. For 12 months, through four seasons, they gathered to share their stories and have photoshoots with Antea. The women held space for each other to speak, they listened, and were themselves heard. They laughed and they cried together. The project which inspired the women to share, created a circle of women, which became a platform for sisterhood and friendship.
Each of these women had a photoshoot with Antea. Some photoshoots were individual, others were in a group environment – in all photoshoots, they were encouraged by their ‘sisters’. Supported and uninhibited, they felt safe to show their nature and spirit which was expertly captured by Antea’s eye. The photoshoots took place in every season of nature, and invariably capture the various ‘seasons’ of a woman’s life. The photos reveal the women and bodies as they are – perfect, unique, and beautiful. Stories written by the women in the photos open their intimate world to us and remind us that not all scars are visible. Words written by Tash invite us to pause and reflect.
The exhibition takes us beyond the skin and exterior of the body, it teaches us to not judge one another by appearance, but rather to come from a place of curiosity and inquiry, so we may know ourselves and others better. Creating compassion and understanding – something the world so desperately needs.
This exhibition honours all women, everywhere, and asks us to see beauty in others and ourselves. It also showcases the healing power of storytelling and sisterhood, and reveals something we often forget – that everybody has a story.
About the Creators
Antea Mrčela-Ljubić is a Split-based photographer who has been in the photography business for 10 years. As a sociologist, Antea’s main focus is human emotions and subtle moments between two or more people. This passion and attention to the subtleties of human nature naturally found its home and expressed itself in wedding photography. Her curiosity for observing people and their diversity led Antea to find a new field of interest – intimate portraits with the intention to help women acknowledge their worth and beauty. Because of standardised beauty frames, a lot of women doubt their authenticity, worth and beauty. This is the main drive for Antea’s work – to present women as they are, unique and beautiful. Antea encourages movement and creates a space where women feel safe to express themselves or just be. In this way, Antea’s photography captures depth and intimacy that few can.
Tash Peričić is from New Zealand; she has travelled around the world and moved to Split for love. As a writer, Tash has long shared personal and vulnerable stories, through this process she learned the healing power of storytelling and connection, and in recent years – the importance of community. Tash created the ‘Empowered Women, Empower Women’ group that can be found on Facebook. The idea behind this group was to create a space where women can connect with like-minded women, encourage, and support one another. Tash is inspired by human nature, psychology, indigenous wisdom, and spiritual teachings. Alongside writing, Tash works in the yachting industry as a freelance stewardess, educator, and consultant. In all she does, Tash aims to connect, uplift, or inspire others.
Curated by Sunčica Kuzmanić, Everybody has a Story opens on Sunday, June 12 at 8 pm. It will be on view daily, 12 – 2 pm 6 – 8 pm, from June 13 to 16, 2022, at the Prokultura Gallery, Peristil, – Poljana Kraljice Jelene 1, Split.
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