Woman, Money, and Domestic Violence

Woman, Money, and Domestic Violence

 

For many women in Costa Rica, their main job is at home, taking care of the children and the domestic sphere. But in times of economic struggle, unemployment, or poverty, tension rises-and so does the occurrence of domestic violence. In her work, sculptor Vanessa Biasetti explores what happens when the domestic sphere dominated by women is met with increased violence due to economic tensions.

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Vanessa Biasetti
"Tools of Survival," 2010. Pots made with bougainvillea petals and handles of rose thorns. This makes reference to the "prickliness" that there can be in a couple's relationship when the home economy is in trouble.
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Vanessa Biasetti
"Juan's Little Meal", 2009. This work refers to inequality within the couple, when the woman is obliged to take charge of the household chores and keep the home going, while her husband doesn't carry out the corresponding responsibility (in the case of a traditional home) of earning money to support the family. Agrandir >
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Vanessa Biasetti
Detail of "Juan's Little Meal." Llama del Bosque (Spathodea campanulata) seeds and chicken eggs lined with rose thorns.
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Vanessa Biasetti
"Platter of Hopes," 2009. Platter of bougainvillea petals, symbolizing the hope that two people who decide to live as a couple do so in peace and respect. This work belongs to the collection of Ms Niní Giordano. Agrandir >

Even if a woman doesn't work outside the home, she still plays one of the most important roles in any country's economy. Caring for children-the generation of tomorrow-without being paid, doing housework and cooking-these essential chores keep our country, and every country, afloat. Women manage the small but special business that we know as Home, a job that requires her to know about finance, administration, management, education, and service. She must be a nutritionist and cook, nurse, advisor, psychologist, and an endless number of other professions.

But the most important role is the one that demands mental and physical balance so as not to lose one's mind with so many responsibilities in a position with so little remuneration. It's the control of herself, in order to carry out all the activities that fall to her gender and her position within the home, and what in traditional Costa Rican (and Latin American) household is generally considered to be the accepted responsibilities of the housewife, even if she may have a paying job outside the home.

But what happens when the roles change-when men are suddenly at home more, or when women become the primary breadwinners? These kinds of changes have been increasingly common in the past few years since the economic crisis. Though domestic violence has been a problem in Costa Rica for decades, studies have shown that tension and stress about household finances caused by unemployment or underemployment can result in domestic violence against women. Every year, there are more than 40,000 reports of domestic violence in Costa Rica. So far in 2010, a total of seven women have been killed by their partners or boyfriends.

The aim of my work is to reflect domestic violence by means of ordinary household objects.

 


ABOUT THE ARTIST

Vanessa Biasetti is an artist living in Costa Rica. Her work has been displayed in solo gallery shows throughout the country and has been included in exhibitions at the Children's Museum in San Jose, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Panama, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Costa Rica. She specializes in sculpture and painting. To see more of Vanessa's work, find her on Facebook.


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