Anne de Carbuccia’s “Women Empowerment” Art Piece Debuts Thursday Mar. 15


Anne de Carbuccia is behind the international exhibition “One Planet One Future”, which highlights important environmental issues to encourage people to be more sustainable. Anne de Carbuccia creates temporary shrines in significant locations with items representing various environmental issues, and photographs them to raise awareness about climate issues.

Anne de Carbuccia creates shrines to raise awareness about water scarcity, endangered species, and disappearing environments and cultures.

Anne de Carbuccia is debuting her Women Empowerment shrine on March 15 at the Celebration of Women Empowerment cocktail event at the One Planet One Future Gallery. The shrine—a collaboration with the UN Women for Peace and WomenOne—shows why climate change is a women’s rights issue.

Anne de Carbuccia photographing “Women Empowerment” in front of the UN Headquarters in New York.

How did you get involved with the UN and WomenOne to collaborate for this piece?
I met Muna Rihani Al-Nasser, the chair of UN Women for Peace Association, in Italy in 2016 and we shared the same views on the fundamental necessity of women empowerment for a resilient future.
I have known Dayle Haddon, the founder of WomenOne for a long time. Her focus on education for girls resonates with everything I believe in for the common future of women.  Through them I met Marijcke Thomson who offered me the possibility to create an installation at the UN during the UN Women for peace event.

Anne de Carbuccia and the founder of WomenOne, Dayle Haddon.

What are your thoughts on WomenOne’s slogan, “Educate a girl. Change the world.”?
It’s key. Educated girls become educated women. In developing countries, they can infuse traditional knowledge with new information. With education, you decrease their vulnerability, which extends to their children and family. In the rest of the world, an educated woman can learn how to observe, understand, reevaluate, and take action. Women need to take action for the new world coming our way.

Did a specific experience inspire you to create “Women Empowerment”?
Throughout my artistic project, I have been watching the evolution of the planet and the growing consequences of climate change. Today we have 65 million displaced people and half of them are women and girls. We all know that the status of refugee means the loss of your rights and that women are the most targeted. The United Nations predicts there will be 750 million refugees by 2050, mainly due directly or indirectly to climate change. What will be the consequences on all these women and girls? My Women Empowerment Shrine is a symbolic way of addressing those issues.

In relation to women’s rights and female empowerment, what do you think about recent social and political happenings?
Women in developing countries have realized that the rights that our mothers and grandmothers fought for are being reassessed and reevaluated. They have realized that the people who officially should represent them are not anymore.  It was a great awakening, and they started by reacting and now they are acting. As a consequence, they are also reevaluating our societal roles in general, both for men and women. We are in an era of great transition. We have choices to make. We need to take on responsibility for the future and the next world coming our way.

What does the use of flowers in “Women Empowerment” represent?
It’s a poetic way to represent women. You have as many different flowers as you have different women around the world.  Flowers are ephemeral and a symbol of the cycle of life, a theme I address a lot in my work.

Anne de Carbuccia used flowers to represent the many different women around the world.

Why did you choose to include handcuffs and a red stiletto in this piece?
These are powerful symbols donated by other women. The red stiletto, a strong archetype in our society, has written inside of it “I walk 4 women.” The handcuffs are a way of representing abuse of power, human trafficking, and slavery. 

Anne de Carbuccia composed the shrine with donated objects.

Do you have a favorite item from “Women Empowerment” or a personal connection to any of the items in the shrine?
They all have a very touching story and are empowered by the women who donated them. I have a soft spot for the tobacco prayers beads donated by the women of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. I met them at Standing Rock where they made the beads for the shrine I created there. Native American women still suffer the highest rates of rape and assault in the United States.

How was your experience with the creation of this piece different than your experiences with creating art pieces involving environmental issues?
Curiously enough, one could think that this image would have been an easy shoot in comparison to all the work I do in remote natural locations. Actually, it was one of my hardest shoots ever! It’s the first time—and hopefully the last—that the thought that I would not make it crossed my mind. The day the UN gave us the permission to create the installation inside the fountain was probably the coldest day of the year and the wind chill was extremely powerful. It created a vortex inside the fountain which kept blowing everything away. The film crew that was with me actually got so cold they barely made it outside. I am not sure how I managed to physically endure the elements. It was probably adrenaline and a strong sense of purpose. The fact that all of the fragile and delicate items survived long enough for me to shoot them was another miracle. The wind did make the tulips look quite rebellious which was perfect. Everything did blow away in the end and we spent a lot of time looking for each item in that huge fountain, but I did get my shot!

Anne de Carbuccia working on “Women Empowerment”.

Have you had any notable experiences with people who appreciate your work?
My work comes across in a pretty direct way to people. I am documenting our era and its challenges in an artistic way.  There is an aesthetic and emotional layer, but there is also the message—and I see almost immediately if it touches people. When it does, it creates very special exchanges and even sometimes collaborations. I am also very touched that a lot of my collectors hang my work in key locations of their apartments, like their main hall or above their bed. That is always an honor.

What do you hope this piece will do for women and society in general?
Raising awareness through beauty and art is one of my key goals with One Planet One Future.  I believe that we are at a critical changing point and that women have to be very attentive and proactive. My TimeShrines are created to empower the location or the subject photographed. This image is my way as an artist to contribute to Women Empowerment around the world. 

In order to preserve the environment, your artwork shows that humans should work to be more sustainable. What do you think needs to be done in order to preserve and better women empowerment?
With global warming, a new world is coming our way and we will need to adapt and become more sustainable. Women around the world play a critical role in sustainable lifestyles and for humanity’s overall resilience.
Women in developed countries should show the example towards a more sustainable lifestyle and play a key role in the next world as stewards, educators, and leaders.
Across low income countries, a strong link exists between women and the natural systems at the heart of family and community life. Women are increasingly playing roles as stewards and managers of food, soil, trees, and water. By empowering these women—helping them become stewards for nature—we can help them to better cope with shocks from natural disaster and extreme weather events. They will then better protect themselves and their children.  Education comes in many forms, and it preserves and improves women empowerment across the globe.