SONGS FOR SOPRANO
“I can not sing when I am not feeling happy, that is very different when painting or perhaps very much the same.” -Anna Witsen
‘Songs for soprano, a photo essay on the life and times of Anna Witsen’, tells the story of an aristocratic young woman with impossible singing ambitions, depressions and an unrequited love at the end of the 19th century. The dogmatic ideas about the position of women and how to fulfill that role in that time meant for a woman of Anna’s position that she should not be who she wanted to be: a professional soprano singer. This finally led to her tragic self-chosen death on March 5, 1889.
Is gender equality better today? Maybe a little, but certainly not entirely. It was only recently announced that the opportunities for Dutch women in the economic and political field deteriorated in 2019. This is one of the reasons why the Netherlands has dropped from 27th to 38th place on the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
By telling Anna’s story, I hope to draw attention to this theme. After all, equal rights and opportunities for everyone are essential for development, prosperity and peace I think.
Galerie Caroline O’Breen