I was born at dawn, as 'Dawn', as the sun was rising, in New York. My motherland. In Portugal, my fatherland, I am called 'Aurora'. But, my mother did not raise me. My mother took me home – smuggled me in utero, across International borders, when no one could possibly detect the made-in-Portugal-out-of-wedlock embryo she secretly hid under her dress. I spent a lifetime searching – at first internally, then actively. After locating my birth-father, he became my guide. We began retracing our biological family's footsteps, filming as a means of self-discovery (for me) and repentance (for him).
Brooklyn-based Visual Artist Theresa Ortolani is a PhD Candidate in the European Graduate School's Philosophy / Art / Critical Thought program and a Dean’s Scholar in the ICP-Bard MFA Avanced Photographic Studies program. She graduated cum laude from Boston University's College of Fine Arts with a BFA in sculpture and photography. Ortolani has developed and directed arts programs in conjunction with the Ansel Adams Center, the San Francisco Art Institute, NYU and SUNY. As a seven-time PDN winner and “30 Photographers to Watch” nominee (2010 - 2015), her photographs have been included in three consecutive New York Photo Festivals (2013-2015) and the Seoul International Photo Festival (2015). Klompching Gallery’s FRESH finalist, Visura Multimedia Grant first place finalist, IPA/Lucie 2nd place winner and 16 IPA/Lucie Honorable Mentions (2015) are also highlighted among her recent accolades. Ortolani’s first short film (Saudade: Name of the Father) and first monograph, Endurance (powerHouse Books), were selected as "Multimedia Winner" and "Best Book" by PDN 2016 & 2010 Annual. Both received three International Photography Award/Lucie Foundation Honorable Mentions. Her forthcoming monograph, "BOUND", and her first feature film, "SAUDADE", are in production.