Silenced Voices of Everyday Sheroes

For far too long, women have been silenced by patriarchal societies in most cultures, if not all. I believe we can rise above our anger and remove the barriers to our success — by talking, sharing, communicating our thoughts to each other, redefining our own expectations, and never assuming that we must play fixed, female roles.

I am often inspired by the stories, ideas and courage of the women I meet. Every day, I am reminded how women are agents of change. Through my work, I send a message of empowerment— graphically demonstrating how our once-silenced voices and unheard ideas, when brought together, can promote strength.

This message I pass on to my seven- and ten-year-old daughters as well, encouraging them to be who they truly are and dream to be, discouraging them from internalizing and assuming gender stereotypical roles.  I invite them to question well-meaning people when they speak to them as “beautiful princesses” instead of smart girls with interests — and to be aware, listen and share in order to help themselves and all women as a whole.

– Samanta Tello


2018 Winner of So To Speak, Visual Art Contest

Silenced Voices of Everyday Sheroes was the winner of 2018 So To Speak, Feminist Journal of Language and Art, visual contest, selected by Jessica Kallista, Gallery Director of Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at Hylton Performing Arts Center, VA. Below are her words published in the journal.

The simplicity of Samanta Tello’s Silenced Voices of Everyday Sheroes struck me first: nearly faceless women with blank speech balloons and thought bubbles depicted pyrographically in overlapping columns constructed almost as a collage of the powerful "agents of change" she references in her description of the piece. Tello's use of wood as substrate brings to mind the myth of Daphne's attempted rape at the hands of Apollo. How, as the myth unfolds in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Daphne's only salvation renders her silent in the form of a laurel tree.

I returned to the piece multiple times because of its implicit invitations to the viewer. The invitation to question the manner in which women are portrayed as racially or culturally different, the typecast portrayal of totems of dissimilarity all neatly coming together with well-applied red lipstick. The invitation to consider the impossible-to-ignore moment in which we find ourselves, with the pronounced reverberations of women silenced through time—both individually and en masse—serving as a muted call to which the Me Too and Time's Up and other movements provide a hope-inducing response. And perhaps most importantly the invitation to fill the work with one's own thoughts and the thoughts of others, to respond to and interact with the promise of the deep and complex dialogue that represents the varied, considerable and expansive experiences of women. This is an invitation to create our own, new metamorphosis, one in which we will no longer be overtaken by patriarchy, in which we will no longer be silenced.