I became an artist when I became a mother. My first son was born with a severe neurological condition and with that experience I saw all of my certainties crash around me. We were living far away from friends and family, and everything was so overwhelming, that I started taking photographs as a way to cope. I needed to focus on my son´s beauty and presence regardless of his challenges. Combining my family life with my art is something that happened organically My children are around during most of my photo shoots and they also take part in my husband´s projects. We have decided to create a life together where there is no delineation between our art creation and family life. We travel together, mount exhibitions while the children are around, and discuss new ideas at the dinner table.

“Themes inspired by my personal experiences such as vital cycles, birth, motherhood, illness, immigration, ageing and death are found throughout my body of work. I create images that become a document of our love, our fears and our conquests.
My artwork is a contemporary social commentary through which I like to challenge the singular story that has been told and reinforced as a way of normalizing roles and attitudes. I cherish plurality and my way of doing so is to contribute images and testimonies that expands perspective and the constricted existing imagery.
Within a common experience like expecting a child or the passing away of a parent, we find transcendental truth. Art has the potential of transmitting that emotion to confront our daily numbness with something that is authentically substantial and profound.”

The Four Seasons (2013-2014)
are based on reflections that came forth from my experience of mothering my three children as well as having a late gestational loss.

– Annunciation portrays unconditional love. It is the “yes” given not only to the vulnerability of our children but also to our own. Bittersweet love that can inspire and devastate while we commit to accompany the destiny of another human being.
– Shadow is the mother wolf capable of ferociously defending her offspring as well as being the wolf from fairy tales which imposes fear, repression, limits “for your own good”.
– Assent is about trust and letting go. This image is based on a late gestational loss within an extremely difficult year marked by other unbearable family losses. “Assent” is about exercising detachment of expectations, wishes and demands.
– Symbiosis talks about relationships that nourish each other. A negated mother will also negate her body and her presence to her children, so they all ultimately will conform to our unattended, unloved and unnourished society. A fulfilled woman who accepts her body and finds pleasure in sharing it with her offspring is a revolution in her own right, because she stops being part of a establishment that feeds the enormous unsatisfied needs of future men and women. “Symbiosis” is not about being a “supermom”. “Symbiosis” shows two complete beings that strengthen each other by the relationship they establish. That is where the mutual empowerment resides.

Tres Gracias Sangrantes (2012)
was conceived as a parody to Canova´s Le Tre Grazie which are supposed to represent beauty, charm and joy and preceded banquets for the mere purpose of delighting the guests of the gods. Raphael created a chaste version of the piece and Rubens painted the Graces in a voluptuous and exuberant way. I wanted to add an irreverent image to the vast voyeuristic and salacious representations in Art.

The advertising industry tries to convince us that women´s blood is blue, that menstrual cycles stink, that menstrual pain is normal and should be medically numbed, and that mood swings are part of a syndrome (PMS) which is treatable by a huge range of pharmaceutical solutions. External control over women´s physiology and psychology reach debates about abortion legality and illegality, backs up the endless interventions on pregnancy and birth which ends up in an incredibly high rate on C-sections in most of the developed countries. 
The external manipulation of women´s hormones sometimes starts in the beginning of adolescence.
 The devalorization of old age sends more and more women in an anguished and frustrating search for eternal youth.
 In Three Bleeding Graces I give visibility to blood in order to denounce the devitalization, domestication and exploitation of this process that negates women.”

CESAREAN, beyond the Wound (2009)
I created this photographic series in collaboration with the Association El Parto es Nuestro (Birth is Ours) in Spain. Even though I had natural home births with each one of three my children I was born by C-section. This project allowed me to delve into the birth stories that these mothers shared with me as well as allowing me to further delve into my own birth.
“CESAREAN, beyond the Wound” is comprised of more than thirty photographs of women that had cesarean sections and are accompanied by commentaries from the protagonists. These images show the physical and emotional scars of these women. This project denounces the economic and biopolitical interests placed upon women bodies. They bring attention to the abusive use of this surgery that in certain private centers in many first world countries reaches more than 90% of births while the World Health Organization suggests that the numbers should not be higher than 15 to 18%.
Most of these photographs have been published in the book “CESÁREA, más allá de la Herida”, Editorial Ob Stare (2010). This is an ongoing project.

MORE STORE (2008 to present)
combines installation, photography and video in a “boutique setting” where images of more than 40 women from around the World (Cameroon, Costa Rica, Brazil, Holland, Iceland, etc), of different ages (from 18 to 75) and of different physical constitution are exhibited in the form of bodysuits.
More Store questions the value of each life in relation to arbitrary parameters such as country of origin (MADE IN attached in the label of each body suit) and physical appearance. It allows a reflection on the difficulties or privileges that these characteristics present.

Birth of my Daughter (2005)
With this documentary self-portrait giving birth I want to challenge most of maternities in films, advertising and all of art history. These maternities re-enforce the stereotypes that impart from heterosexual masculine fantasies, in which exist the duality of the mother/whore, making sacred all that has to do with the “mother” (maternity with veil included).

With these photos I wanted to show a maternity from my experience in which to give birth I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile. I am standing up, with the placenta still inside me, linked to my baby by the umbilical cord and I decide when to photograph the birth. I am the protagonist. I am a hero.
By giving birth I take off my “cultural” veil. My maternity is not virginal not aseptic. I am the archetype of the primal woman, the woman beast that has nothing prohibited. I show a maternity not seen through the eyes of Eve (the divine punishment “you will give birth with the pain of your body”) but seen through the eyes of Lucy (the earliest hominid found to date).

more about Anna…

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina and lives in Barcelona.
Her artistic work, which includes photography, video and installations has been shown in the Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona (CCCB), Foment de les Arts i del Disseny (FAD) and the Centro de Arte Santa Mónica (Barcelona), Sala El Águila, Feria Estampa and Canal de Isabel II (Madrid), the European Women Lobby (Brussels), the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) and the Centro Cultural de Spain in Buenos Aires (CCEBA).
Her work is part of private collections and has been published in catalogues, books and newspapers (La Vanguardia, El Periódico and Público).

She has received awards and/or been selected at European Women Lobby, Photo Competition 2010, Brussels, Belgium; Festival de la Luz, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Premio Joven UCM and Premio Miguel Casablancas; Certámenes de Arte de Orense and Albacete; the Biennials Galería Clave Murcia and Móstoles City Council, Spain.

She has been awarded production grants by: Third World Newsreel (N.Y); EADC and Conca (BCN) and Madrid/procesos/redes AVAM (Madrid); resident artist grants at Hangar, Fabra i Coats and La Escocesa (BCN) and as well as a grant from Internacionalización de la cultura española (AECID).

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde is mother of 2 boys and a girl all born at home, who are the source of inexhaustible inspiration.

more of Ana´s work can be seen at www.alvarezerrecalde.com