Célia Rocha | As Pure As Fresh Snow Opening Reception

Detail: | As Pure As Fresh Snow

As Pure As Fresh Snow, a solo show of new work by Célia Rocha, will open at Radical Patience, 5442 Monte Vista, Los Angeles CA on January 28 with an opening reception from 6PM to 9PM. The show can be viewed by appointment through February 27, 2023- for more information or to set up an appointment contact the artist at celiarochastudio@gmail.com.
Célia Rocha is a Portuguese visual artist based in Santa Ana and Los Angeles. For the past three years she has worked on an art project about rape culture in Portugal through the lens of the rape allegations against the renowned Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.
In Portugal, the #MeToo movement has barely reached the mainstream, relying on and reproducing entrenched cultural stereotypes that have historically excused violent acts and blamed women who claim to have been raped. The project is Célia's response as an artist to the rape culture prevalent in Portugal and her outrage over the lack of resources for survivors even after the #MeToo movement.
Like most Portuguese people, Célia looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo as an inspiration. Ronaldo wasn't just a celebrity for her. He was her hero, a Portuguese like her, who became the best in his field and represented Portugal, a small country of 10 million people, throughout the world. Her children wore the Portuguese team soccer jerseys blazoned with his name and iconic number 7 during the team’s soccer games.
At the end of 2018 the German magazine Der Spiegel interviewed Kathryn Mayorga, who publicly accused Cristiano Ronaldo of rape in the city of Las Vegas. She was devastated to hear of the rape allegations but, as a rape survivor herself, she believes Kathryn Mayorga. It was announced in 2022 that the civil lawsuit against Ronaldo was archived by the judge. Célia states, “This is a major loss for rape survivors, but I’m not giving up. My artwork is my activism, especially in Portugal where rape culture is pervasive.”
The art project consists of five drawings, a drawing installation, along with a street art intervention in Los Angeles and Lisbon. In the show and central to the project is a graphite drawing of a snow landscape with the words "No matter how badly you have been hurt you remain as pure as fresh snow" in the center. This quote, by the Buddhist philosopher and poet Daisaku Ikeda, is from a dialogue that he had with youth representatives from the United States on violence against women. This drawing is dedicated to rape survivors in Portugal and everywhere and the essential message that Célia wants to convey with this project.
The drawing installation features 16 paper panels of online comments of the article in the Portuguese media in which, in leaked documents by Football Leaks, Ronaldo is quoted saying that Mayorga said no and stop several times and that he apologized afterwards. Despite this admission of guilt, most comments blame and denigrate the woman who accused him. The rape culture in Portugal is apparent in the misogynistic online comments. This installation is a tribute to artist Andrea Bowers' Open Secrets and #sweetjane installations.
The street art intervention consists of an image of Cristiano with Kathryn Mayorga at the club where they met the night of the alleged rape. Below are his words "She said no and stop several times…. I apologized afterwards" with his name underneath. This image has been made into a sticker and will be reproduced on the streets of Los Angeles and Lisbon, for the duration of the exhibition.