This series of works was conceived during the Artist-in-residence program at Maus Hábitos, Porto, Portugal, in April 2012, where I sought to incorporate, in the current research of my work, typical elements of the so-called feminine labors, still present in the Lusitanian culture, in particular the valentine's handkerchiefs, a connection between Portugal and Brazil in the past, although nowadays known by few in Brazil.
The valentine's handkerchiefs are a strong tradition of Portuguese popular culture in the north of the country, originated in the eighteenth century. They were handkerchiefs embroidered by single young women, who were originally used to declare their interest in a particular young man. They would hand the handkerchief over to the suitor, who would wear it on their clothes in the next day, indicating that he corresponded to the girl's feelings.
Later, the handkerchiefs also began to be presented to a boyfriend or a husband who was leaving to a distant land in search of a better life, most of the time they left to Brazil.
The images used in this series are always of soldiers who were about to leave for World War I, most likely to be left with their families as a souvenir. For many of these soldiers, this was the first and last photo they ever made in their whole lives.
My recent art production came from a reflection upon the toys that people give to their children, that, even if not intentionally, are used to define gender, sexual identity, personality, etc: dolls and domestic or sensitive activities for girls; balls, weapons, soldiers and more active and strength oriented games for boys.
Its artistic poetics lies precisely in the superposition and conflict between traditional elements of the feminine universe, in particular floral ornamental patterns, porcelain crockery, embroidery, among other so-called feminine activities, with stereotypes of masculinity such as the soldier, the powerful executive, the weightlifter, the cowboy, etc.