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Stefana Fratila's Video for "Nero" Is a Powerful Meditation on Motherhood and Domestic Violence

Romanian-Canadian performance artist and singer teams up with artist Bita Joudaki for this stunning new video.
10 July 2015, 1:00pm

“The whole album, in a way, is about me coming to terms with my womanhood, of growing into my feminine body, but most importantly, that becoming a woman translates into an increasingly closer proximity with violence,” says Romanian-Canadian performance artist Stefana Fratila about her latest release Efemera which came out in June. “Let me put it like this: it's not an accident that the field of research around gender-based violence is dominated by women.”

Fratila makes the type of music people should be afraid of. On closer inspection it’s thundering, empowering, and angry, yet comes across sickly sweet and ethereal. You can barely tell what she is singing as the synths bound and bounce between her soprano whispers, but one read of the lyric sheet and a short conversation with the articulate musician and the message becomes clear. The 23-year-old political science student (currently working towards her MA) has lived cross-culturally in her short years, spending most of her childhood bouncing between her current home in Vancouver to the Romanian country side to live with her grandparents. Her feminist ideologies are strongly rooted in balancing her cultural upbringing with her assumed womanhood.

In her latest single “Nero,” premiering below, Fratia teamed up with artist and good friend Bita Joudaki to play with concepts of motherhood, love, and domestic violence through two iconic paintings by Orazio Gentileschi (The Madonna with the Sleeping Christ Child) and his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi (Madonna and Child).

“[The video] brings these all of these overarching themes together through a re-telling of an infamous historical figure—the Roman Emperor, Nero,” explains Fratila. “I had read a lot about him in my childhood because I was completely obsessed with history, especially Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt, but was most viscerally impacted when I saw a film about him, that portrays him for the chauvinist murderer that he was. There's a scene where he's in a rage and violently kills his pregnant wife. Domestic violence against women is normalized. I had never read about him murdering the women in his life in any of my history books, as if domestic violence or gender-based violence wasn't 'for kids' or something.”

Watch the video below and listen to Efemera here.

Stefana Fratila Tour Dates

7.11- A2 (collaboration with Diana Miron) - Bucharest, RO

7.13 - Control Club (DJ set) -Bucharest, RO