Women of the Water

Ana Elisa Sotelo, Peru

Women of the Water is an ongoing documentary project that explores liberty and liberation in women. Through open calls, I invite women to partake in a series of landscapes and nude installations in different bodies of water. During these performative acts I look to question social prejudices and the dominance of patriarchy over women and over the nature that surrounds them. The encounters also provide a powerful and empowering experience for women to freely express themselves and flow with nature.

For too long the sea – and open waters in general – have been portrayed as predominantly male dominated spaces. This series began at the world’s end in Puerto Natales, Chile and continues along the South American continent in places where machismo culture and violence against women is extremely prevalent. 

As I continue the series, the groups convened have become larger, more diverse and have raised questions about freedom of the body and of women’s movement in traditionally male-dominated spaces. These questions have resulted in opinion pieces in the media, in organised debates, collaborations with other artists and most recently an open discussion organized by Peru’s Catholic University. Additionally, the encounters have served as a way for women to commune with another, observe different body types and leave social prejudice on land.

Discover more: Shortlist 2023