Interviews | October 25, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

Interview: Nilwe
Luca Curci talks with Nilwe during the 8th Edition of ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Monti – Rome Art Space.

“Born and raised in Belgium, Nilwe was already fascinated by her grandfather’s darkroom as a small child. He instilled in her a love for photography from a young age. With her father teaching arts and painting for a living, she was taught to use her senses to absorb the world around her. He introduced her to all the great works in art history and encouraged her to hone her own skills as she aged.”

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

Luca Curci – How did you get into photography?
Nilwe – I was in a way “born” with a camera in my hands. My grandfather was a photographer and I spent many hours with him in his darkroom developing pictures. My mother inherited his passion and passed it on to me. I have always known that there was a camera around somewhere and I have in a way taken it into my own life.

LC – Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
N – It depends on what you define as a “professional” photo…I have never actually had any income from my photography, on the contrary. So, in that respect, I am not a “professional”. But if you look at it from an artistic perspective, I have been showing my work for many years now. I have always “used” photography as my voice, my means to express myself. I guess you could say that is why I started shooting.

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
N – A good photograph is one that captures your attention. It doesn’t really matter what the subject is. It needs to be kind to the eyes and generate a certain feeling of excitement. My focus is mainly on the composition of a shot and the correct lighting as I want it to be.

LC – Among the several techniques you use, which one do you prefer to practice and which of them are most compelling for you?
N – I prefer to use the dichotomy between light and shadow. The play between these two is always present in my work, whether it be street photography or studio photography. I always look for a dramatic effect with bright highlights and dark shadows. I will often prefer to shoot the outline that a tree makes on a wall, as opposed to a person on the street. It is the light that matters. In that respect, I owe a lot to Master Photographer Greg Gorman, who taught me how to use this technique and refine it.

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

LC – What do you think about art on social media? Are they turning into the new showcases of contemporary art?
N – I have to admit I am not a big fan of art on social media. It is too fleeting, the attention span is too short. Art should be savoured, experienced and absorbed. I don’t believe that social media is the right medium for that. It is, however, a good tool for promotion and exposure. So, I think it should be used for that purpose. Other than that, I would like to keep seeing art in galleries. I guess I am old school that way.

LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
N – I have never been a strong conceptual artist. My main focus has always been on the expression of how I experience the world around me. The colours, the movement, the input I get from my surroundings. However, as I am also a poet, I combine the two to give the images meaning and vision. Lately, I have been going through some personal changes and I have taken the opportunity to use these to create a new series.

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
N – With this series I aim to raise awareness about the effects of childhood abuse. The resulting trauma, eating disorders and psycho-somatic issues as I have experienced them. The work plunges us into the Body-Mind duo. It is a journey of loss, grief and creation. The faces show the horror of starvation, and the loss of self. They depict the grief that stems from the early severance of body and mind. They tell the tale of the meeting of the Muse later in life, and the creation that unfolds. It is the gathering of the Self. The gathering of the Body. I thought it was the perfect match with the theme of this exhibition.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
N – I was very much inspired by the theme of “Mixing identities”. The impact of ourselves as we move throughout the world. I explore the connection between the inner workings of the self the unconscious mind, and the body as an entity. The photography focuses on the body, whereas the poetry expresses the inner mind as it lives within that body and expresses itself through a personality that emerges. The result is a mix of the two that make up our identity.

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Image courtesy of Nilwe

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
N – I have been following the ItsLiquid Group for a long time, exploring their website and all the amazing opportunities they create for us artists. I have long wanted to collaborate and be a part of this movement. I truly like what they are doing!

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
N – Every aspect of it that I experienced was positive. From the communication and follow-up before the event to the execution of the show and the opening that was held. The people I have dealt with are professional, kind and very helpful.

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Image courtesy of Nilwe
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Image courtesy of Nilwe
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Image courtesy of Nilwe

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