Meltem Elmas is exploring the position of the female body through the use of photography and mixed media. By contrasting portraits with interventions of various materials Elmas opens up a surprising view of the perception of the woman as an archetype but also as an aesthetic subject. In her quest for beauty and estrangement Elmas creates portraits that are carriers of magical and mythical realities. Her multimedial works are the result of an inquiry into presentation and representation of pictorial forms of femininity and invite the viewer to an active reflection of the different layers of meaning in her pictures.

With “Sisters of Pandora” Elmas introduces the discourse of the ambiguous position of women in society. The reference to Pandora, the mythological Greek figure, formed by the God Hephaistos from water and clay, is a first hint into her point of view. Being gifted by the Gods with several unique attributes, her role was rewritten by scholars from the all-gifted and all-giving Deity into the exemplification of a bad wife, when Greek society shifted from matriarchy into patriarchy.

By connecting her works to the myth of Pandora, and the closely related story of Eve, Elmas traces the pictorial forms that are attributed to women. Through the hybrid constructions of identity in her works she creates a manifesto for liberation and gives a positive and hopeful note to what was, and still is, a long struggle against repression.

Sofie Verbrugghen, November 2013, Brussels