Burning Lilies

Anne Nobels

2021 - Ongoing


This project is an exploration of our (me and my husband) choice to not have children. As we started to tell people about our decision, they didn’t really know how to react it seemed. Most couldn’t imagine we would make such a decision at our age (27 and 29). Joost got a vasectomy so it’s pretty permanent. And people kept saying ‘oh, just wait, those hormones will kick in’. And that is something I can’t imagine… It seemed this subject should be further examined.

Maybe it was naive of me to think a life choice like this would be more accepted in this day and age. The ideal family image of two parents and at least two children (preferably a girl and a boy) is rooted very deeply into the western culture. And I think a lot of the strange and somewhat hurtful reactions we got come from that. After talking to other women and couples about the subject it became clear that many are struggling with the pressure of society to have children. It is hard to stay true to yourself, but imagine, wouldn't it be awful to have a parent that didn't want you?

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  • Call of Venus

  • Lilies are associated with fertility and motherhood. They also symbolize purity and virtue.

  • Turning point.
    Letting go of what could have been to open up the way to a new future

  • On the black parts of a mud flat nothing grows. I doesn't have the right nutrition. But underneath the surface it's bursting with life.

  • Lunch

  • Dinner.
    I don't want children, but sometimes I dream that I am pregnant and loving it. I don't dream of having children, just of being pregnant. It's such a wondrous thing that a woman's body is able to grow a tiny human. And I must say, that I'm sorry to miss out on that experience.

  • In Dutch we have a saying 'blood will crawl where it cannot flow'. Which translates to 'you can try to hide your true self, but it will shine trough eventually'.