In the background
Diana de Sousa
The story of Penelope in Greek mythology is one of the most dynamic and disquieting images of femininity: that of a woman waiting for her love and who patiently and painstakingly embroiders and weaves while she waits and keeps the world at a distance. However, as the dialogue with the original text of ‘Odysseus’ becomes clearer and more intense – especially with regard to Penelope – the myth simultaneously shifts to a context that is touched by anxieties closer to today’s and, in particular, the situation of emigration and the status of women.
Ulysses, the adventurous hero, has emigrated and is taking a long time getting back home; Penelope, his resilient wife, remained behind and waits for him, weaving stories and questions. If Ulysses emigrates while Penelope waits and changes into another woman, what transformations are these? What happens when one waits for someone for an unspecified period of time?
Will Penelope still be the woman who for centuries has provided an example of chastity and faithfulness? How many Penelopes are there? Could it not be Ulysses who is waiting for her? Or is Penelope waiting for herself?
These questions arise in this project and the legend of Penelope and Ulysses will be used as a narrative that crystallises and evokes the situation of many couples all over the world. Penelope waits in the same manner that we all wait. Waiting to be happy, to be loved and desired; waiting to achieve some financial and professional stability; waiting for happier days. In the end, we are left with a testimony that reminds us that love is not just exaltation, it is also contradiction.