Pippilotta Yerna

As actors on the stage of patriarchy

Mothers, to me, are agents of feminism; quietly undertaking their role on the stage of everyday life. In my work I search for a visual representation of feminism and its relation to motherhood, dissecting my idea of feminism by looking at my mother and her role in our everyday lives. Using photography, I research our relationship, employing staging and performance where balance and trust is key. In the project, I turn her into a symbol representing female empowerment; can this serve as a symbol to remind me of her role when I might become a mother in the mysterious future to come? Intrigued by the development of the role of the mother within the family and in today’s society at large, I look at the mother-daughter dynamic and ask how this relationship is shaped by the oppression of women. Within my family constellation, my mother fulfils the needs of my father, out of love as well as expectation. He is the centre of attention as a result of circumstances my mother says, I always wondered if that was the only reason.

I seek out a personal connection with my subject. In the same way as I construct an image, I formulate a personal mythology rooted in an apparent or perceived ‘truthfulness’ of the image that lies at its foundation. My work is heartfelt and joyful yet it also addresses complex experiences that we are all confronted with, including shame, death and grief. This photographic landscape is shaped by a visual language injected with humour and absurdity.


My camera has an ability to magnify and dissect elements of my reality. This results in highly suggestive and striking images that blur the boundaries between fiction and documentary. Photography as a medium can manifest itself in many forms; from a print-screen to sublimation prints on textile in the shape of a wearable suit. In addition to photography, I use text, drawings, sculptures, and performance in my work. Creating a specific physical form for an image, allows me to construct the context around the image and guide the viewer in the process of reading or interacting with my work.

Yoga mat, Active pants, Joint, Leg, Knee, Wood, Thigh, Waist, Floor

What challenges have you faced making this work? 

I approach my work from a personal position and experience. The difficulty in this is that I float around in my pippi-bubble, where - in this case and related to this project - I found it hard to encounter male opinions. Out of a fear that they will make my safe bubble pop. Yet, not being safe eventually let me create the project in its fullest

 How are you going to develop this project further?

I would like to actively involve the public by organizing workshops for mothers and daughters, or anybody that can relate to this relationship. In which we carry out the exercises you see in the photos; exercises where balance, trust, indecency and cooperation are key in making them a success. 

What has the Lighthouse program done for you?

The Lighthouse program has helped me set foot in the professional field of photography in various ways. Within the program, we are educated with masterclasses by professionals, about topics ranging from personal branding to insight in doing a crowdfunding campaign. With this information and experience I have been able to create a blueprint for my working methodology. 

Interior design, Window, Wood, Grey, Fixture, Black-and-white, Flooring, Floor
Wedding dress, Bridal clothing, Window, Wood, Plant

Pippilotta Yerna invited Vasso (Vasiliki) Belia to have a conversation about the mother-daughter relationship as a metaphor within feminism. Motherhood through feminism, feminism through motherhood.

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