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A conversation with Barbara Polla


season 2 episode 4
Jan 06 2020



Dr. Barbara Polla shares her views on women’s rights, feminism, and the important questions women should ask themselves.



About our guest
Barbara Polla is an independent curator, writer, and gallery owner based in Geneva, Switzerland. As a curator and gallery owner, Barbara Polla often shows unconventional artworks, creates projects in which she involves both renowned artists and emerging talents and aims to discover, show and promote hidden and uncanny beauty. She also organises various cultural events such as Video Forever (screenings and conferences about video art in collaboration with French curator & art critic Paul Ardenne) and Poetry Nights. She taught creative and critical writing at HEAD Geneva, is an active blogger, and publishes essays (on gender), books about art, personal fiction, and poetry.



Links

Website

Analix Forever Gallery

Video Forever

Instagram



Resources mentioned
Éditions Odile Jacob
Sharing Perama
Sharing Perama Facebook




“This is not something you can do just once in your life,” she says. “It’s like an everyday discipline to really look at yourself, to listen to yourself, to go into yourself and to try to understand ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What do I really want?’ and try every day to do something that brings you closer to yourself”






Dr. Barbara Polla, a medical doctor, researcher, politician, mother, writer, poet, and gallery owner, joins us today to talk about how her career has evolved, her opinions on feminism, and how women can step into their power.

Early on in her career, she attained a medical degree with a specialization in inner medicine, pneumology and immunoallergology, following that up with a number of research positions, including the Harvard Medical School and the French Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris.  In 1991, Dr. Polla started her own gallery to represent contemporary artists, often collaborating with other gallery owners to bring fresh, unconventional art shows to the public. She also taught on the relationship between art and fashion at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris and the HEAD (Haute Ecole d'art et de Design) in Geneva.


The progression of a multifaceted career


“I think what drives me is the desire”

She attributes her ability to manage such a diverse number of careers to her energy and passion for discovering new things. “I think what drives me is the desire,” she says. “I think that, rather than jumping from one career to another, it’s actually like reading a book … I never quit what I was doing … because I was bored with it, but just because the next page seemed more exciting, more desirable.”

Nevertheless, there were many intense years where she filled multiple roles at the same time.
“In the forties, that was I think the most intense and most difficult time. There was nothing in my career that I could say—okay, let’s postpone this for five years,” she says.


Promoting feminism through writing and art


Always an advocate for women’s rights and freedom through her medical and political work, Dr. Polla explores the same topics in a number of her publications, including Femmes hors normes, meaning women out of the frame, or women out of the norm.

“By ‘out of norm’ I don’t mean actually exceptional woman,” she says. “I mean women who have the courage at [a] certain point to take a step outside of the box, to go out of the box that society … wants to put us in.”

What she hopes to promote is a sense of self-confidence and the ability to truly look at and listen to themselves and what they desire.

“This is not something you can do just once in your life,” she says. “It’s like an everyday discipline to really look at yourself, to listen to yourself, to go into yourself and to try to understand ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What do I really want?’ and try every day to do something that brings you closer to yourself.”

She references the viral image taken of Ieshia Evans, during the 2016 protests in Baton Rouge, as an example of the power every woman can access and unleash.
“We all can be her,” she says. “We can be Ieshia Evans …  if we are standing in our fragility and as humans in our dignity and in our full power… we are, we exist, we are beautiful, and we change the world.”



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