2015 - Ongoing
We are one collective. Earth, trees, plants, animals, humans, we are deeply connected. Can we live in unity? Me, mother earth, the cosmos …. we nurture and nourish each other.
The Venusian Collective Project started with my wish to work on a subtle story. A story about my own responsibility to take good care of our earth. A story about “la force tendre” in life, that which life continuously passes on.
This idea let me to Venus, goddess of love and protector of gardens and wineries. She invites you to see our food as our first connection with nature. Every day - gifts from nature on our plate. With her divine feminine force, she also invites you to revalue the sensual, luscious and feminine way of living.
Venus stimulated me to restore my own history. My base, raised as a Christian. She gave me this liberating thought: What if Eve had not been seduced by the devil? What if she had consciously decided to eat the forbidden fruit, curious and longing for adventure? What if Eve had not hidden herself from God, but met him proud and full of confidence? Ready to take responsibility for her act of eating the forbidden fruit, for her life, for her senses and for her choices in everything that was yet to come. What difference would that have made? Would we be able to enjoy our womanhood and our daily food, without feeling guilty?
This idea resulted in het Venusian Collective Project: portraits of self-aware women and series of photos of our daily food.
I do feel the urge to connect the food we eat with the great environmental questions of our time but …. Venusian Collective is a personal story. I decided to direct my photo camera towards myself, towards my family and strong women close to me. I believe that every important change begins with a personal decision. I want to make something straight up against the big climate change conferences, energy footprints, emission goals, political discussions and financial consequences or trending food fads. I want to create a story that touches people on a personal level, to inspire their own personal movements
The still lifes, within the Venusian Collective project, are inspired by Dutch and Flemish painters of the 17th century. A time the Dutch culture blossomed and is therefore named The Golden Age. A time in which big ships started travelling the world and brought home spices and new ingredients that had a massive influence on the way of eating. At those days, it was for the happy few. The ingredients on the paintings were extremely expensive, it was a way to distinguish yourself. Nowadays, our supermarkets are filled with food from around the world. Ripe avocados, strawberries and mangos all year round. With the still life series, I show the beauty of our daily food and reflect on how precious it is.
Venusian Collective is a cooperation of Elsbeth Tijssen (artist / photographer) and Henriëtte Tomassen (artist / writer).