Photographer Arantxa Cedillo has portrayed 16 Nepali women using traditional handmade painted backdrops. They are the first women to have broken the rules in their native Nepal and the photo series describe the positive changes that they have pioneered.
In an environment that is continuously changing and transforming, Broken Rules came as a project that spoke of the power of women in Nepal.
As a part of the ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’, an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, a group of 20 women coming from the arts, education, law, development issues, religion…were chosen as a representation of that change.
They all share one thing: to be the first women to have broken the rules in their native Nepal. They are the signs of change.
The use of handmade backdrops came as an inspiration of old photographs that I often found in people’s houses, especially when traveling to rural areas. They were always placed in special corners of their houses and usually they were wearing traditional and carrying very serious expressions.
I decided to reverse that form, surprised the audience and allowed the women to speak for themselves. I enjoyed the creative challenge of taking photos of people in a restricted frame: using the handmade backdrops was interesting and forced me to explore new ways of portraiture.
Arantxa Cedillo was born in Madrid in 1977 and studied the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography. Her work has received several international awards and has been widely published in galleries around the world including the Canon Japan Gallery (Tokyo), Getty Images Gallery (London), International Center of Photography (New York), New Orleans Photo Alliance (New Orleans), Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock), Toronto Image Works Gallery (Toronto), Mogliano Veneto (Treviso) and the Royal University of Fine Arts (Phnom Penh).
She is currently based in Kathmandhu, Nepal, and her work is represented by Getty Images Global Assignment.
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