Laetitia Duveau is the curator in chief at Curated By GIRLS. Through Curated by GIRLS she wants to help emerging talents to get the visibility they deserve, showcase more diversity and get women and under-represented artists to occupy more space in the art world. We spoke to her about her life, her ambitions and the struggles she faces.
Hello Laetitia, it’s nice to have you here today! Thanks for being part of this feature. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Laetitia. I'm also known as Little Voice. An obvious nickname due to my high pitched voice. I'm a Frenchy based in between Berlin and Paris. I do many things, I'm a musician part of the duet Free Free Dom Dom, I'm a traveler, a blogger and I run the platform Curated by GIRLS. I'm firstly a singer/songwriter and becoming a curator was a beautiful accident in my life. Other than that you can find me enjoying a cappuccino in Neukölln, having a BBQ in Tempelhof, and of course, online on Instagram where I spend way too much time!
When and why did you start Curated By GIRLS ?
Curated By GIRLS was born almost 3 years ago when I arrived in Berlin. I was at a time of my life where I was tired of Paris, I was tired of the music industry, (such an abusive industry honestly). I was basically tired and depressed. The pressure for success had eaten my passion for music. And coming to Berlin was like a fresh start. I was inspired by the city, its people, the art scene, feminism. I was very open to what Berlin had to offer and I needed to focus on something else than my own condition.
And at that time, there was no platform I knew of in Berlin that was dedicated to giving a voice to women and female artists. Not that I’m aware of. And I thought it was very important to make it happen!!! Art is such a powerful way to vehicle important messages such as feminism.
You’re curating online as well as in real life. We think it’s awesome that you’re supporting young and aspiring artists this way. What’s the best part about doing exhibitions?
The main aim is to support young talents. Make art accessible to everyone…not just an elite. I want to give emerging artists a sense of pride and that their work matters. Even if they don’t have a lot of experience. Some of the artists i promote have never exhibited before, and I’m so excited when I can give them a first taste at it.
Exhibitions in real life are so important! It gives people a chance to be together for real and FEEL they are not alone. What I find amazing is the atmosphere in my exhibitions. Wherever it is, Berlin, Barcelona or Amsterdam, there is always this softness and peace. Like if people just needed a moment to rest and feel in harmony.
I am sure it must be very inspiring to collaborate with so many like-minded people. What do you love most about working with all those talented artists out there?
I love when I really connect with another artist. It is inspiring! The point of all this is to connect and share. As an artist myself it is really satisfying when I can help a creator being seen, heard. I am somehow proud to be doing something I would love people to do for me in a sense. :)
Apart from being the curator in chief at Curated By GIRLS you’re also a musician, a blogger and you work with fashion brands. That’s a lot of different projects! Is there anything else you would like to try out in the future?
Oh yes! I am open to life and willing to explore the world as much as I can! I mean unless it is an extreme sport, which is not my thing at all! HAHA!
I am lucky I can diversify my activities, it’s thrilling, even if it’s a bit too overwhelming sometimes. I’m working non-stop. Crazy. But wearing different hats is, I think, the future. We will need more and more to be able to adapt and be creative job-wise. We are over the 'One job for life'-mentality!
But yeah, there’s so much I wanna do. My priority is still music, but I’m interested in many other things, like cinema! I was a casting assistant for 2 years in Paris. I was working for one of the best casting directors. She taught me so much! She was very demanding and rigorous. It was the toughest years of my life I guess…but I learned to work at a fast pace. And I learned that I love being my own BOSS now!!
The casting world was very interesting, as well as acting. I even had a role by accident. It was the worst role, to be honest…I had to play a girl who just found her dead mother…OMGGG. Not the easiest first role! Well, I’ll wait for a director to find me for the best role of my life. In the meantime, I’m busy with plenty. :)
How do you find inspiration for your own art?
I find inspiration everywhere. In curating, in meeting new people, travels, but most of it in my guts. Creativity is your own. I like to tell my story… through music mainly. Writing songs is my favourite thing ever! Also, I love watching documentaries about people. Like recently I watched “Jane Fonda in 5 acts” and I was so inspired by this woman, her journey and her honesty when she tells her story.
Could you share any notable struggles or challenges you have experienced when you first started out with CBG? What challenges do you encounter now and how do they compare to the struggles you faced back then?
When I first started, I didn’t know ANYTHING about curating. I was afraid of being a failure. One quality is when I decide to do something, I do it 100%. I'm very dedicated. I learned to listen to what I feel, and to not stress too much! Basically I learned to be more gentle with myself, and appreciate the positive things I was doing instead of focusing on what I didn’t know or didn’t do well. It took a bit of time to adjust, and I am still not always satisfied, I still make mistakes, but I’m proud of my work so far.
How do you overcome these challenges?
I work hard and I listen. I have been doing this amazing collaboration in Amsterdam with a great curator, Fleurie Kloostra. She found me online, came to meet me in Berlin over tea and brought me and my ongoing expo “new femininity” to Amsterdam. It was an amazing opportunity for me. But to be honest, I learned a LOT from her. She is a real curator, she has the knowledge and background I don’t have…so I was paying attention to her tips, and I trusted her direction. That’s why the collaboration was so good. I think It is important to be open to the other. I am not a super fan of people that are too satisfied with themselves! You can always learn from anyone.
Who (or what) inspires you to keep going? What gives you strength?
The artists first! I am amazed to see all this creativity in the world. I want to help more artists, I want to discover them, I want women to occupy more and more space, and gain more confidence.
I'm highly motivated to contribute to a better world. You know, help change minds about womanhood for example. I met an actress recently who said my project was very interesting but she was ‘shocked’ by many of the images on my feed. Well, I was even more “shocked” than her that in 2019 people can use that word to describe a picture of menstruation blood, hairy girls, curves…. I mean, I think “shocking” is a word that should be reserved to the feeling when you see war, violence, death, weapons, rape…. not when you see a girl with hairy armpits.
And I also find strength in my own routine, sharing with the people I love, not taking myself too seriously. My life has to be FUN. A sense of humour is primordial for me.
Curated By GIRLS aims to be a platform for all artists, no matter their heritage, history or gender. That’s awesome after all, none of these factors should be the basis of someone's place in art and photography. Do you have any advice for girls and women who are still at the beginning of their own artistic journey?
I would advise to get inspiration out there but to express their own vision of their story, not being afraid of speaking their mind. Art is not about being successful. It is a personal journey and has to be pure.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Balance for Better”?
It is somehow crazy that after all the fights women fought since the 1970s it is still a matter. We should already have the balance for better. Men and women should have the same rights and opportunities. Cant believe we are still questioning this in 2019. Yet, the reality is there is still so much work to do to reach gender equality in the world. We live in a male world, and its a battle to change that. but we're getting there step by step… And I mean this fight is for a better world for EVERYONE, not just women. Look: The Danish society, for example, is based on equality between the sexes, and they’re considered some of the happiest people in the world (which makes me wanna visit this place A.S.A.P !!!!)
Balance is harmony. and we all need to live in harmony, right?
Thank you, Laetitia!