Beginning to die by Ana Leal

The work “Beginning to die” reflects on the physical and psychological aspects that women go through when their fertility naturally comes to an end. I started this project in 2019 when appeared the first signs that I was entering the climacteric, the period that women go through until they reach menopause, which is actually the last menstrual cycle.

The work “Beginning to die” reflects on the physical and psychological aspects that women go through when their fertility naturally comes to an end.

I started this project in 2019 when appeared the first signs that I was entering the climacteric, the period that women go through until they reach menopause, which is actually the last menstrual cycle. Instinctively I photographed my last cycles, still not knowing what I was going to do with that material, perhaps in an attempt to save the last breaths of my fertility. During all this time I kept reflecting on the meaning of this new phase of my life. Since the beginning of the process I started also researching the topic and to my immense surprise I discovered that in the 21st century this is still a topic treated in many countries as a taboo. I decided then to develop this body of work, bringing some lightness to it, so that the topic can be seen and discussed more naturally.

Amidst all the usual symptoms of the period, such as insomnia, hot flashes, irritability and weight gain, several questions were arising. The idea of death became frequent in my thoughts. If we go back to the beginning of time, when the advances in current medicine did not yet exist, the life cycle of a woman was basically limited to: being born, growing up, reaching childbearing age, procreating giving perpetuation to the species, entering the climacteric and after menopause would die within a few years, giving way to those younger who are in turn starting this cycle. Menopause then would be a strong indication that your life was nearing its end. This thought coupled with the fact that from that moment on I would not be able to generate another life either, in addition to the very clear signs of time in my own body, made me realize that in fact I would have already lived most of my life. The work is made up of individual images as well as diptych/triptych compositions. The research continues and I keep on photographing and experiencing the subject.

About Ana Leal

Ana Leal was born in the Northeast of Brazil in 1969. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil  and a Masters degree in Marketing from the University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Photography has always been a passion. At age 15, she received a Nikon as a birthday present and from that moment on, her passion has grown. Self-educated, she decided to become a professional photographer in 2013 when she got a Bachelor degree in photography from the Pan American School of Arts in São Paulo and in 2016 she joined  an MFA program  in Visual Arts at Miami International University of Arts and Design. Abstract expressionism and constructivism are her main influences. [Official Website]

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