The Ornela series was the product of a year-long research on authenticity. Through several portrait studies, psychological research, and travel, Gabriela Gil concluded that authenticity comes from the complete embrace of oneself. This includes building the courage and inner strength to withstand external influences that attempt to shape us through expectations, dogma, or even coercion. The name "Ornela" was inspired by a young girl she met in Symi, Greece who exemplified the spontaneity, joy, and genuineness that only someone who has not succumbed to these influences either due to age, chance, or innate strength, can have.
The multi-layered portraits are made from acrylic, newspaper collage, and metal patchwork. Each face has phrases or reflections Gil gathered throughout the year subtly written underneath the top layers. The faces are purposely asexual as the path toward self-acceptance and self-love is universal; and the metal thumbtacks on the eyes are intended to reflect the viewer as part of the experience of engaging with the work.