'I like to show women who exist in solitude but do not suffer. They are not depressed or crying,' the artist explained.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 15, 2022. It has since been updated.
Being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely. Many people prefer the independence, personal space and fulfillment granted by solitude to the supposed security and commitment that comes with a marriage. Yet, society continues to push matrimony on women, drilling into girls from a young age that no matter what they achieve in terms of their careers or life experiences, they will only have succeeded if they have a ring on their finger and a child on their hip. Mexico-based artist Idalia Candelas set about challenging this notion a few years ago through her "Postmodern Loneliness" art series that depicts women who are content to be alone.
"The theme of the loneliness has been recurring in my drawings," Candelas explained to Mic. "Even though people try to avoid [it] [out of] fear, being in that situation is increasingly common in our society. I like to show women who exist in solitude but do not suffer. They are not depressed or crying. Rather [they] are safe, exalting in the sense of enjoying the company of just herself." The artist went on to publish the Postmodern Loneliness series in the form of a book titled 'A Solas'—which translates to 'On my Own'—and it turned out to be a resounding success.
As Candelas explains, contrary to the stigma attached to solitude, being alone can be fulfilling, fun and exciting. This is even backed by research published in the Journal of Population Research in 2019, reports Psychology Today. "Drawing from Canadian surveys conducted between 1996 and 2010, [Jianye Liu and his colleagues] focused on 6,675 people who were living alone when they were first contacted, and then followed up on their living situation for each of the next six years," wrote social psychologist Bella DePaulo. "The people more likely to continue living alone over the entire six-year period were the women. It was as if once they got a taste of a place of their own, they found that they really liked it. They no longer wanted to find someone to live with, if they ever did."
DePaulo pointed to another research conducted by Birk Hagemeyer and his colleagues which revealed that women enjoy spending time alone more than men do. "In a series of studies, they have asked participants about enjoying alone time as well as trying to avoid it. In a diary study in which participants reported their experiences every day for two weeks, people indicated whether they had gotten enough time for themselves," she explained. "In every study in which there was a significant difference between the men and the women, it was the women who appreciated their time alone more. They were more likely to enjoy being alone and less likely to try to avoid it. In the daily diary study, it was again the women who were more likely to say that they had not gotten as much time to themselves as they would have liked."
You can buy Candelas' book, 'A Solas', from Amazon here. Meanwhile, here are some of the gorgeous pencil, ink and watercolor artworks featured in the book: