Mary of Egypt was a 12yo prostitute who live a depraved life in Alexandria, she did not want any money for her services. After a travel to Jerusalem she became extremely remorseful about her life and left for the desert with only three loafs of bread. Living like an animal completely covered in hair and unrecognizable as human she was found dead at the riverbank of the Jordan with an inscription in the sand saying she died the same night she was given the holy communion.
Catherine of Alexandria was the brightest of all the daughters from a wealthy patriarch family. After refusing to marry Emperor Maxentius and denying her faith of being devoted to Jesus and her purity, she was sentenced to death. When even burning on the stake did not kill her, she was beheaded. Out of her wound there flowed holy milk that saved the city of the plague.
Apollonia of Alexandria was conceived by her mother during an intense prayer. When she refused to betray her faith they pagan ruler ordered her death. First they pulled all her teeth out and broke her jawbone to bits. When they wanted to burn her at the stake she jumped into the fire herself.
Juliana of Nicodemia, the daughter of pagan parents. When they gave her hand to a senator she said: 'I am the bride of Christ', which at the moment was enough to trail her for and being beaten by her father. After various tortures like being hanged from her hair (what resulted in her scalp being ripped off) and being partially burned she was thrown into a bath of boiling led. Finally she died by beheading.
Rita of Rocca Porena was neglected as a child and as a baby there where bees flying in and out her mouth to feed her. She never wanted to marry but a life devoted to Christ. after her husband being murdered her two sons wanted revenge, but Rita rather saw her sons death then becoming murderers. So she prayed for her two boys to die, after their death she finally could become a nun. On her deathbed bees covered her body.
Martina of Rome was a wealthy girl that gave away all her earthly belongings to the poor when her parents died. Being very open about her religion she was trialled and sentenced to gruesome torture. Twelve executioners ripped open her face and breasts with rusty nails, they poured boiling oil into the fresh wounds and beat her to death. All this while Martina was loudly praying to her one and only lord of saviour.
Philomena of Mungano was the 14yo daughter of a Greek king who converted to christianity. With a war around the corner her father turned to Rome for peace but in return the Emperor fell in love with the girl who, vowed consecrated virginity, refused to be his wife. As a result she was tortured to death by being thrown in a river with an anchor attached to her neck.
Blasphemy is a pieced perspective, Blasfeminism is a by me made up value
Our live is build around our faith, Christianity. Important moments in our live involve the church wether we are faithful or not. For hundreds of years the faith of a person became a part of their personality, this is a value we lost in modern day Europe. Even artforms revolved around translating passages from the Bible to a piece of art (paintings, sculptures, ...)
That is why I started with reading, I think I read about 750 hagiographies.
From those I started to select, write down, reselect, organize, re-organize, ...
and so on (I came from about 200 different people) until I only got 32 left. From those I selected the 12 most horrible, gruesome, disturbing most crazy stories and decided to make personalized brooches for each one.
I choose 12 different women (or girls, the oldest one is 18) who stood up for their believes and were willing to die for what they believed in. And they didn't really cared what would happen. Faith is such a big part of our cultural heritage and nowadays often a 'bad' thing to stand up for.
The love these girls had for an idea is for me one of the most beautiful things there is.
Photographer Emily Damoiseaux
Photographer-assistent Isaora Sanna
Hairstylist Christophe Lambenne
Makeupartist Sybille De Beuckelaer
Model Noor Chaltin @Dominique Models