Ex-Miss Febem is the avatar of Aleta Valente, a Brazilian artist who lives in the peripheric neighborhood Bangu in Rio de Janeiro, where many correctional facilities are installed. Her artistic project name translates roughly to ‘former Miss Youth Detention Center’. She has a formal unfinished education in Arts at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and at the Parque Lage Visual Arts School.
In her encounter with “The New Mestiza” by Gloria Anzaldúa and with a smartphone in hand, her investigations started to take form in portraits and self-portraits, fed by themes such as gender, intersectional feminism, experimentation, self-expression, self-legitimation, counter information (fake news), situated in her class and urban environment and with a hint (a lot) of humor. In her photos, she plays around her body and the relation with the viewer, pushing and asking whether there are limits for women’s exposure when they are not for sale, when they are not objects for the neoliberal market, exposing covers of magazines and selling products for themselves and for men. In contradiction, Ex-Miss Febem displays menstrual blood, STDs and other forms of everyday relations women establish with their bodies and with sexuality.
Her provocative photos have unleashed many positive and negative responses and her first Instagram account was banned over and over again. The reactions vary from very positive ones to some very ambiguous, men flirting while discriminating her performance, to vicious attacks. In a time of super exposure in the social media, she abuses from this practice and takes her art to the limits in order to provoke whatever the responses may be, according to the viewer’s repertoire.
Watch here her video for the PIPA Prize for Contemporary Art.
We also recommend Ivana Bentes’ article around Ex-Miss Febem performance entitled Feminist biopolitics and subversive aesthetics.