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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat


Updated: Oct 28, 2019

There are pictures of installations and art collaborations I have participated, where you never see me. There have been birthday parties or Christmas dinners or general events where the photographs show smiley and very happy people, and you never see my face.

There have been videos of marches and rallies where you never see me.

There have been free tickets, opportunities, meetings, invites that never reached me.

There have been job opportunities for which I was fully qualified that bypassed me completely.

There have been people mentioning me, while I am present, without acknowledging that I was actually there.

There have been people who have borrowed, used, took, and stole objects, tools, material, and words (which is the thing that actually pisses me off more than anything, to be honest) without the decency to ask or tell.

There have been girls and then women who blatantly flirted with my partners while I was there, in the same room.

There have been people who sat so close to me that I almost stopped breathing, spread their stuff on the table, spoke loudly with total disregard of me and my space and my boundaries.

There have been people who never asked.

There have been people who never questioned.

There have been people who never wondered.

My phone could be off for days on end, with no difference.

I can create projects, blogs, art pieces and write books and nothing happens.

There have been people, and there still are.

I am msNobody.

Since moving to the UK in 2008 all that I did before, during my first 40 years, seems to have disappeared and has totally lost its objective value.

I cried many tears because the need for artistic (and then personal) validation in this new Country was needed so much that my skin ached. I didn't know if what I was doing, writing, making, producing was good enough. I didn't know if the ideas I was having were valuable or symptoms that I was completely bonkers, that I was average and not interesting and very very strange. Very strange in a very different way altogether.

In this September 2019, I have decided that I am fully embracing my artistic stealthiness and my totally unacknowledged status. I fully accept and merge my Inner Being with this side of me which is fully Invisible.

Invisibility is going to become my superpower.

I can sneak in unannounced, I can linger and scoop around and hear things. I do not wait for validations, nor critique, nor feedback. I am going my way, making my mind up on things I see and taste and experience without confirmation nor approval. I don't have to compromise with anybody. But, more than anything, this newfound freedom allows me to think, believe, trust, and like anything that I want. I can create whatever I want, I can move outside of any mental and physical boundaries and boxes wearing whatever hat I fancy. No one will stop me nor question me nor ask me what I am doing and why I am doing it because no one sees me.

And I can freely write my mind and my heart out because no one reads it.

I have often complained that I felt lonely and I needed a sense of belonging, while instead, to be totally honest, I don't like being among many people most of the times and I enjoy my solitude and hermit status. I don't think I have ever been happier than when on holiday alone, or when writing in a Costa knowing that I don't have a time limit and I don't have anyone I have to consult and entertain and be present at a precise time otherwise hell breaks loose.

When a photographer, one of my personal characteristics and the flagship I was so proud of, was that no one ever, while taking a picture, would have actually taken a picture of me. I hide, I disappear, I sneak around you, take a picture, steal your soul and hide again. When a photographer, I hated people asking to take a picture of me: my role was behind a camera, not in front. I think I learned that when I was working as a PA for an art collector: I learned to walk backwards and almost bow in silence to then disappear. I opened doors without been heard. Either that or I could have turned into the perfect cloistered nun. But then, after I stopped being a photographer, all things changed. I felt I needed to be seen, acknowledged. I hated being ignored, perceived as common, ordinary. I was hiding behind the camera. Once you took that away from me, I felt exposed and lost. And really not good at anything. I don't have physical characteristics which are recognisable and make me full of charm and attractive and distinctive. I am not peculiar, hence not noticeable. I easily disappear. When talking to a friend the other day and discussing this, she openly said that I scare people: I am independent, determinate, with strong integrity and I take no bullshit. People don't know how to handle us and so they try to pair us with others hoping we disappear, or they try to forget us.

Well, if I scare people, then be scared.

Now you see me, now you don't.

© mtomat 2019 - written on 02.10.19 - no reproduction without permission.

Pictures are of Antony Gormley's Field (here more). You can see his latest work at the Royal Academy of Arts till 3 Dec 2019 (here). Please, go.

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