The Headless Women do not listen, do not speak, do not cry. Do they have brains? Have they lost their minds?
They have no neck, no eyes, no ears, no mouth. Do they have a voice?
They do not wear earrings. They have no ears. No glasses. No necklace. Do they have clothes?
The Headless women have hair and have holes. Sometimes they have arms and sometimes they also have got legs. Can they run away?
The Headless Women stay close to the ground.
They have a butt, a belly and breasts. Do you have a vagina?
The Headless Women are made of stone, paper, wood, clay, and even flesh and blood.
Are they art?
Do they have a name?
Do the Headless Women want a head? Whose head? Or rather, a head of what?
Who are the Headless Women?
The map of Headless Women in Public Art is part of the Headless Women and Other Events – a wider art and design project created by Mariana Morais which examines public art through women’s lens. This project aims to identify, reorganize, reflect, spatialize and promote narratives related to Women. It promotes a diversification of histories about Women in Public Art as a way to critically comprehend how common representations of the feminine is still affecting “real women” and their social frame. By doing this, the project additionally hopes to contribute to develop a broader understanding of the concepts of public art, city and citizenship in present time.
Therefore, Headless Women in Public Art is a mapping device that accommodates representations of Women in four categories – Headless Women, Non-Women, Honored Women and Women Artists – through the design of routes that include statues, monuments and sculptures. Right now, the map is focused in the design of routes in the city of Porto, Portugal, but aims to continue mapping the "headless women" in public art around the world. This map, with online, fabric and paper versions, suggests walking tours that offer analytical perspectives on some of the Gender contradictions found in the public art of Porto. Inconsistencies that have become more visible with the social and political changes we are currently witnessing in the city. By using digital and live storytelling strategies, the Headless Women in Public Art map provides an opportunity to learn from past and present representations of the feminine, highlighting the fundamental presence of women in a city’s public sphere.
Mariana Morais was born in Recife, Brazil, and is currently living in Porto, Portugal. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the Federal University of Pernambuco, under which she completed a one year mobility in the Architectural Design program at Parsons The New School for Design, in 2013-2014, in New York. She also holds a Master's Degree in Art and Design for the Public Space.