Andriana Nativio

MFA ’21 Photography

As we rest in the shadows.

When I enter the woods, there is a longing to know what falls into the shadows, and a fear of finding out. When I was a girl, my curiosity and desire rose above my fear. The light that wove itself through the trees pulled me into the depths.

Growing up I spent summers with my girl cousins, wandering through the lakes, woods, creeks, and rivers near our homes. Fairy tales, urban legends, creation myths, and our parents alike told us the only thing little girls would meet in nature was harm, or a harsh lesson to be learned. While we were warned not to go too far, we only went farther. Fear was instilled into us; yet within the lush woods and dark waters we felt closest to ourselves. Together, we reclaimed these spaces and made them ours. The landscapes we traversed were transformed into our world: a world that was just girl and just us. We felt we were the first to discover these spaces– maybe even the first people on Earth– or perhaps it felt like we were the last.

Recently, I drove through a small town in Tennessee and met two sisters who invited me on an adventure into their world. The girls roamed without constraints and took time to rest in-between. They had claimed their world and connected with nature just as I had when I was a young girl. The landscapes surrounding them became a place for them to grow, bond, rebel, tell secrets, and rest without observation.

I see myself in these sisters as I attempt to return to my own girlhood, knowing I will never be able to do so. These photographs become a place that melds the girls’ experiences and my memories together, moments before we come out on the other side.

We found that our fear was not what the stories told us. Rather, an unspoken understanding existed among us, knowing we would eventually have to leave this place. The same light that drew us in shifted to darkness that loomed over us– a reminder of time itself.

Andriana Nativio was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and currently lives and works in Boston. In 2017, she obtained her BFA in Photography from Bowling Green State University. Nativio works primarily in black and white photography while exploring themes surrounding femininity, memory, nature, and girlhood through her subjects. Nativio has been included in group exhibitions nationally at venues including The Vermont Center for Photography, Maine Media Gallery, Yeiser Art Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and more.