The Powers of Vulnerability,
a Portrait of Exceptional Women
Description of Project
With The Powers of Vulnerability, a Portrait of Exceptional Women exhibition project, Marie-Josée Bergeron wishes to create a series of artworks that deal with the subject of vulnerability and its myths. With the help of Montreal psychologist Brigitte Palardy, she would like to demystify perceived notions in relation to vulnerability. Mrs Palardy explains, “Vulnerability is a state of not being in control, to expose oneself one risks feeling pain, feeling naked. As long as we perceive vulnerability as an obstacle to overcome, we are rejecting an aspect of ourselves, which helps defines us and is worthy of getting to know. We are depriving ourselves from being respected and appreciated for who we are – with all our complexities. When we dare to be ourselves and show our vulnerabilities, we exhibit our strengths and courage.”
With the collaboration of exceptional women from various backgrounds, this intimate art exhibition project will showcase women’s lives and history – those who dared to be vulnerable. Their stories will certainly impact other women (and men) to accept and maybe embrace their own vulnerabilities.
Marie-Josée wishes that this project is more than just an art exhibition, she hopes the subject of vulnerability can be approached otherwise. We hope to have conferences and panels of discussions on the subject of vulnerability and become an integral part of the exhibition. The scientific research linked with vulnerability and the creative process can be addressed through the inspiring portraits of women’s stories. The artist and participating women are convinced the project will inspire and open new discussions on the subject as well as become a positive catalyst for our society.
To date, here below is a list of women who have agreed to collaborate in this project:
Vice-President, Bell network
Fashion blogger, feminist and author
Fashion blogger, feminist and author
Politician, Député assemblée nationale
TV Host, author and owner of Shakti cosmetics
Beauty and fashion blogger
Author, reporter and journalist
Three times Olympic gold medal winner
Actor and TV host
Founder, les petites mains
Entrepreneur and business development for Aneb
TV and radio host
Vanesa Garcia Ribala,
Dancer, Grands Ballets Canadiens
Unexpectedly, on November 9th of 2009 visual artist Marie-Josée Bergeron’s world changed forever. Marie-Josée contracted the H1N1 virus and developed a severe case of pneumonia. On November 11th, she is diagnosed with the flesh-eating bacteria and is transferred to the intensive care unit. Her life is at critical risk when the bacteria multiplies at lightening speed, affecting her spinal cord, kidneys, liver, and lungs. Afraid for her life, the sacrament is administered by a priest and she is sent urgently into the operating room.
Thanks to her courage and strength and diligent hospital care, she survived the terrifying ordeal. Following several weeks of hospitalization Marie-Josée recovers unscathed. The health crisis and experience became a turning point in her life. From this day onwards, she vows to use her art as an instrument to inspire others. Marie-Josée’s mission is to promote the benefits of visual art and creativity, to illustrate the positive impacts and importance of art and culture in our society.
THE ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT
For the past few years, I’m interested in the positive effects related to personal tragedies such as death, sickness or broken-heart; not the negative impacts that we are initially struck by.
A few years ago, I discovered the work of Brené Brown at a conference she gave on TEDX Talk, The Power of Vulnerability. She is an American research professor at the University of Houston and for the past two decades studied the relationship of courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. Brené Brown is also the author of five #1 New York Times best selling books.
I was totally inspired and intrigued by her research, especially her findings on vulnerability. The subject reveals much about our present day society. Most particularly for women, vulnerability is often seen as being weak and fragile. Her findings have motivated me to use the subject of vulnerability as my exhibition theme. According to Brené Brown, vulnerability is the exact opposite of pride. It is living our truth, maintaining our self-esteem in light of challenges, cultivating authenticity, taking risks, taking responsibility for our failures, and being grateful for others.
“Is vulnerability the same as weakness? “In our culture,” says Dr. Brené Brown, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid, such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often forget that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity and love. ” On the power of vulnerability, Dr. Brown offers an invitation and a promise: When we dare to let go of the armor that protects us from the feeling of vulnerability, we open ourselves to experiences that give meaning and meaning to our lives . Here, she dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is a weakness and reveals that it is actually our most accurate measure of courage.
My profound wish is to be inspired and infuse my artwork with stories of vulnerability by exceptional women.