A room of one’s own

Tórtola Valencia. Danza «La bayadera», 1914

Adolf Mas
Tórtola Valencia. Danza «La bayadera», 1914
© MAE-Institut del Teatre

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The cultural sector is eminently female, or at least mine is, which is the one I can best tell you about, our team in Fundación MAPFRE’s Culture area. Of the 18 people who make up the team, 15 of us are women: Ana, our Egyptologist who supports the area; María, a law graduate and a keen consumer of culture; Irene, the latest arrival, with an exquisite eye for detail; Raquel whose heart is divided between the cultural and the social; Mónica, a lover of photography, the most senior with all her youthfulness; Leyre, who loves research; Virginia, a gifted head for order in logistics; Rocío, passionate about transmitting what we are to our audiences; Eva, the champion of our digital project; Vicky who has been linked to photography all her life; Lucía pure sweetness who makes the most of every second; María (Pfaff) who throws out her tentacles to expand the KBr; María (Mac) who, we don’t know how, keeps everything going; and Casilda, attentive to the small and the large. But I also recognise that I cannot leave out the others: Pedro, our staging master; Iñaki, a perfectionist doctor of history who takes care of our public; and Carlos, the mastermind behind what we are in the world of photography.

We are managers, consumers, tireless workers, thinkers who get excited and let ourselves be excited, who are convinced of the transformative power of art. Culture lays open worlds, creates a refuge in which to shelter from the storm, awakens us when routine lulls us, breaks with created stereotypes and makes us freer.

Throughout history and until not so long ago, art was a realm reserved for men, for their own expression, exhibition and enjoyment. You only have to read the wonderful book A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf to understand that the same thing happened in the field of literature. They were protected territories to which women were allowed to peek fleetingly and into which we – as in so many other fields – gradually made our way, enlightened by the flash of enjoyment and freedom and strengthened by the critical capacity of our minds. Much progress has been made in society, and just as I began, today this sector -like so many others, I insist- is eminently female, but there is still important ground to cover and that involves recognising the work of women artists who at the time did not have the spotlight, the stage on which to show themselves. Today the sex of an artist is no longer an issue, today what remains is their work. And that is something to celebrate.


Nadia Arroyo
Director of the Culture Department.