Freedom to Love by Silvia Ros

In 2008 ‘Freedom to Love’ by Silvia Ros premiered at the Thoughts on Democracy exhibition at The Wolfsonian in Florida, USA. The exhibition invited about 90 international artists to do a modern reinterpretation the Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms.

Freedom to Love

Statement by Silvia Ros

‘My entry is titled ‘Freedom to Love’, inspired by Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms covers for the Saturday Evening Post.  Rockwell’s vignettes portray what Franklin Roosevelt – in a 1941 rousing speech – cited as unalienable American rights: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

Freedom is a word and a concept that has particular resonance for me and my family.  My great-grandparents fled the political turmoil of their native Spain for Cuba. A few decades later, there was a second family exodus when my grandparents and parents left Cuba (and an upper-class life of privilege and comfort) in search for freedom and democratic values in the United States.

Still from the video 'Freedom to Love' by Silvia RosThe family photo I have used in my poster is one of my grandparents at a park in Havana with their children – my grandmother and my great-uncle – taken in 1921. To me, it represents a stable and joyful life, the result of the freedom they found in their new land. By superimposing my grandmother’s face upon my grandfather’s, making them appear as a happy lesbian couple with children, I created the image of a possibility denied to me and my partner by the state of Florida, where we live.

Photo (right) – ‘Freedom to Love’, poster by Silvia Ros

I consider this work a self-portrait. Born in the U.S., I am a citizen of the country where the quest for freedom became the catalyst for its creation, as well as the essence of its Bill of Rights and Constitution. We, Americans, believe the freedom to love is part of our unalienable rights but for me, it is not. As a gay woman in America I am denied the right to love. Discriminated against for loving a partner of the same sex, I cannot marry my partner, adopt a child with her, file taxes with her, or retain the legal right to visit her bedside should she fall ill.

Only 12 of 50 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The remaining 38 condone it. ‘Freedom to Love’ addresses our complicity in passively accepting government classification of people based on their sexual orientation.

In it, I strove to capture my ancestry, heritage, country and sexuality in one image.’

About Silvia Ros

Miami based photographer and queer artist Silvia Ros, had her first solo exhibition in 2006 at the MIA Gallery. Her work is exhibited and has toured in the United States and internationally. She has been the staff photographer at The Wolfsonian-FIU since 2001 and is the founder of the National LGBT Visual Documentation Project. In November 2010 you can see her artworks at the GFEST 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition in London, UK.

Related Links

Silvia Ros’ website
The National LGBT Visual Documentation Project
by Silvia Ros