Julia Pelealu - ''Mental powers are the most noble''

#ASK Julia Pelealu

Julia Pelealu is known for her beautiful photography series for which she is inspired by rebellious and independent women throughout history. The Rotterdam-based photographer and artist prefers not to talk too much about her own work, because she likes it much better when the viewer is drawn in thanks to their own imagination. She was recently invited by Huis van de Fotografie Rotterdam for a residency, a working period in which she is given the opportunity to deepen her practice. She recently joined the board of the Huis van de Fotografie. We asked her a few questions to learn more about her.

What exactly does such a residency entail?

In short, as an artist in residence you are a temporary guest somewhere. I was invited by the Huis van de Fotografie to use the beautiful Tuinkamer Atelier (Garden Room Studio), which I currently share with two other artists in photography: Vivianne Ammerlaan and Sabine van der Vooren. We each work on our own project there, but we don’t live there. I still prefer to call myself an artist in residence, because the Huis van de Fotografie feels like a home. The beautiful building on the Westersingel is authentic and atmospheric. For an artist, it’s important that you have a workshop that brings peace and inspiration. Many of my works ,and future works, are set in historic times. That is why the historic building of the institute is very inspiring for my new work. In addition, the Huis van de Fotografie is for and by photographers. A place where photography is central, a platform for photographers. The Huis van de Fotografie was founded by Annet Schipper, Helma Vlemmings and Vivian Ammerlaan. They have given Rotterdam a place where the photographer feels at home and welcome. A place where you get inspired by other artists and their artworks.

Julia Pelealu – “Never apologize for being a powerful woman”

What inspires you most in your work?

You need a place to develop yourself as an artist. To connect with other artists and to learn from each other’s experiences. This also happens in the Huis van de Fotografie, for example by means of photo exhibitions. Recently we organised a Beeldborrel (Image Drinks), where photographers presented their books and shared their experiences, but they also told you more about how you can make your own photo book and what the options are. This event was received with such enthusiasm by visitors that we will be organising even more of these events and exhibitions in the future. For my work, I am also very much inspired by the books I read and the movies I see.

How would you describe your relationship with the city of Rotterdam? 

Rotterdam is my love and this love is infinite. I was born in the Afrikaanderwijk on the south, and raised in IJsselmonde. Calling it a bond is putting it mildly. I am a Rotterdammer in heart and soul.

Fotograaf: Saskia Godschalk

What are you looking forward to the most during the upcoming edition of Rotterdam Art Week? 

Of course I am looking forward the most to the photo exhibition in the Huis van de Fotografie.
In addition, I will definitely visit Rotterdam Photo, because I think the theme The Human Blueprint will produce exciting photos, especially in the society we live in now, in which a lot is changing. From a working society to raising children, who are you and what do you want? The whole world is in a transformation process in which so much is unreal. You feel that you live in a world of only energy. That opens you up to so much. That’s why I believe that artists are going to come up with very exciting artworks, I can’t wait to step into their world!

I am also very curious about the exhibition of Chas Gerretsen in the Nederlands Fotomuseum. He is a journalist and reporting photographer. He has photographed, among other things, the Vietnam War and the coup in Chile, but also celebrities. I love history and portraits. Photographers bring history to life with images and you can feel that emotion in a deep sense. Yes, I can’t wait to see where Rotterdam Art Week takes me. It’s exciting!