Fortia is a latin word for “strength” and the images in the series are a portrayal of how I view physical disability. I lost my father when I was a very young girl. Fortia is a very personal story about my father’s death, me, and my emotional and physical reaction to his death.
You never learn to deal with death as you get older, especially when it takes such a powerful force away from you at such a young age.
This is a series that became my therapy, and it touches on a subject that affects millions of people and families. My father died with both legs amputated due a sickness, and without him, I was confronted with images about his story that were never empowering but rather educating society that people with physical disabilities are financially and physically dependent.
As an artist, I created my own images that would not immediately tell the viewer about the pain behind the “beautiful” images of Fortia. The female character carries this story through all the masks – masks that were each handmade by a group of physically disabled men. Each of these men portrayed himself with such a force to survive and show his independence. The masks are portrayed in such images as This is Not His Funeral, This is Life!, My Mother’s Womb, Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman and Womanhood – Sex, Love and Betrayal go through the life events that explore my sexuality, pain and life after my father’s death.