Nieves Mingueza conceptualises violence towards women and girls in the girl new mixed media task

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All images © Nieves Mingueza.

One in Three Women seeks to raise awareness of the ubiquity of gender-based violence as one of the most important and largely unreported problems affecting women and girls globally

Gender-based violence can be refined and insidious. Often , it plays out in personal spaces, and is acted out in many different ways. It’s not generally easy to recognise, talk about, or even name. That invisibility will be the very thing that helps gender-based violence – violence directed at a person because of their gender – prosper.

“In March 2021, Debbie Everard was a victim of femicide – the unseen pandemic – and that situation shook the UK, ” states Spanish-British artist Nieves Mingueza, speaking of the young woman kidnapped plus murdered in London last year. “Misogyny, violence, the male gaze…all of this became illuminated within the media at that moment. However , according to the United Nations report of 2021 , physical violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, running and devastating human rights violations in the world. Today, this remains largely unreported plus unseen due to the impunity, peaceful atmosphere and shame surrounding it. ” These devastating information form the basis of Mingueza’s latest project, One inside Three Women .

“I was surprised to discover how many people acquired experienced or witnessed gender-based violence and intimidation. Plus, how many of these experiences got occurred in domestic spaces. ” 

Blending found vernacular pictures with archival material plus fragments of writing, One in Three Women assembles image and text to interrogate gender-based violence from a conceptual perspective. The project has a clear line of sequencing, with many of the first pictures showing mundane scenes associated with sofas, kitchen tables plus beds in black and white. Explaining the focus on home interiors, Mingueza says, “speaking with friends and family when starting this work, I was shocked to discover how many had experienced or even witnessed gender-based violence and intimidation. And, how many of the experiences had occurred within domestic spaces. ” 1 some images, Mingueza adds small annotations, such as numbering household objects, or tagging certain spots with an ‘x’. The spaces depicted are usually rooms in houses associated with unknown owners, but with the addition of these illustrations, she “transform[s] them into crime scenes, just as violence transforms homes. ”

Elsewhere, the physical interventions continue. “The opening picture is a collage that was constructed with a female group portrait found in a 1950s high school yearbook, ” she explains. “A third of the women’s confronts are [cut out and] replaced with fragments associated with red vernacular images, highlighting the fact that one in three women globally are exposed to violence. ” The faces of the remaining portraits are usually removed too, emphasising how the issue is structural and worldwide, and not about the most people in the photographs. The cuts she makes in the images are rough and jagged, “expressing my sheer trend about these facts, ” she adds.  

Mingueza trawled the 2021 UN Women report for essential facts and figures, plus hand wrote them on the backs of the found photos she used in the collection. It is the part of pictures all of us never normally see, more highlighting the theme of invisibility.  

Based between London and Cordoba, Mingueza recently completed an MUM in Photojournalism and Documented Photography at UAL, where One in Three Females was exhibited as part of her final project. In sharing this work, she hopes to encourage awareness of gender-based violence, and show how unconventional narratives can be used to explore the matter in an impactful way, without having sensationalising the subject or re-victimising victims. In the end, a story told in a damaging way can be worse than telling zero story at all.


If you have been affected by one of the topics discussed in this article or if you are experiencing domestic misuse, you can seek help and advice from your following organisations:

Domestic Abuse Helpline (in the UK). Freephone, 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247.

National Domestic Assault Hotline (in the US). Helpline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Hot Peach Pages . International abuse information in over 115 languages.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is a writer and editor based in Brighton. She has written on digital photography and culture for over forty international magazines and newsletters, and held positions as editor for organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. She recently finished an MA in relative literature and criticism from Goldsmiths College, University of London

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