Exhibition period: 12th of September to 30th of September
Working times: Tue–Sun 11AM–6PM, Saturday 11AM–8PM
Opening: 12th of September 8PM
Artist talk: 12th of September 7PM
Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Artists: Ahlam Shibli, Amak Mahmoodian, April Gertler, Hannah Starkey, Laia Abril, Lua Ribeira, Nina Berman, Nina Mangalanayagam, Nydia Blas, Sandra Vitaljić, Tasneem Alsultan, Tomoko Sawada, Zanele Muholi
Curator: Marina Paulenka
Exhibition design collaboration: Nina Bačun i Roberta Bratović, OAZA
The exhibition Vigilance, Struggle, Pride: Through Her Eyes presents thirteen women artists whose carefully selected works to reflect, question and problematize different cultural expressions and issues related to identity, family and home, sexuality and gender-sex roles, representation of women and politics of the female gaze. The exhibition is curated by Marina Paulenka, and the exhibition design was done by Nina Bačun & Roberta Bratović (OAZA).
The exhibition Vigilance, Struggle, Pride: Through Her Eyes brings together thirteen women artists who present stories from their surroundings, inspired by the desire to pave the way for new possibilities of understanding and new insights. Their experiences and research pose questions that enable different intellectual and emotional responses to the existing challenges and issues of today’s society. We are faced with a turbulent socio-political situation in which women must fight anew for the rights that had been won long ago, and women’s issues are as current as ever. From the construction of the female perspective in the West, real-life stories of wives and mothers from Palestine, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to the trans and queen community in South Africa, their works shed light on specific events and voice a desire for equality, for which we have to keep fighting.
Different in approach, the works reflect the representation of different cultural expressions, tackling issues such as the construction of identity, family and home, sexuality and gender-sex roles, representation of women, politics of the female gaze and self-perception, labor and social rights as well as victimization of women and children, accepting the inability to fully understand and engage with a given situation, but also inspiring change and creating alternative spaces that welcome equal opportunities, narratives and outcomes.
Hannah Starkey‘s photographs explore the physical and psychic connections of the individual and her everyday urban surroundings to voyeuristic intrusion. Through her collection of found photographs, collages and drawings, April Gertler examines the juxtapositions and abstractions of various feminist perspectives, which, when combined, give rise to new visions. Embracing the impossibility of fully understanding cultural expressions different from her own, Lua Ribeira seemingly dissolves the idea of femininity and sexuality by recreating scenes of performances, rituals and self-expression of Jamaican dancers. Through myths and delusions, Laia Abril‘s research work shows that menstruation is one of the most suppressed issues in the context of human rights, which encompasses education, the economy, the environment, and public health. Amak Mahnoodian wonders about the real identity and image of the Iranian woman as she collects photographs and fingerprints from birth certificates in order to reveal even the smallest part that makes them special and tells a story about them. Identity and equality are also central to the work of Tomoko Sawada, who through 300 portraits transforms herself into what she could or could not be: various Asian nationalities. Tasnem Alsultan thematises the disconnection between religion and local customs. Following the stories of widows, happy marriages and personal experience, she reveals the fates of Saudi Arabian women, which she inscribes in her diary. Ahlam Shibli has always been intrigued by the topic of home. Her work Death demonstrates the limited ways of making meaning from the representation of those that are absent, namely, martyrs, Palestinian fighters and civilians executing attacks, women, men and children who lost their lives as a result of Israeli occupation of Palestine. In her video installation We call Her Pulle, Nina Mangalanayagam portrays her intimate relationship with her aunt Pulle. They are two women of two different generations who do not share the language, culture or experience, and she wants to show how difficult it is to understand someone else’s trauma after they had experienced war. Aware of the lack of documentation of her community, Zanele Muholi started working on a series of portraits, aiming, in a way, to rewrite the black queer and trans visual history of South Africa. Brave Beauties represents transwomen and gender non-binary individuals with a celebratory view on the body and politics of expression. Sandra Vitaljić discusses the victimization of women and the female body, showing us fatal bodily injuries. A sad and incredible story from Nina Berman‘s recently published book An Autobiography of Miss Wish introduces us to a 25 years old story of a woman’s turbulent and tortured life. Lacking the space for expressing needs and experiences, Nydia Blas thematises the ways in which society ignores, marginalizes and evaluates individuals beyond the existing, well-defined borders. The artist resorts to creating a physical and allegorical space, exposing the constructs of sexuality, sex and gender.
Following its premiere in Maribor in January 2018, the exhibition was shown in Graz, Berlin and Bratislava in 2018.
The exhibition is part of a larger project of the association Društvo za evropsko zavest (SI) whose partners are ORGAN VIDA— International Photography Organization (HR), Fotoklub Maribor (SI), Österreichische Gesellschaft für Kinderphilosophie (AT), KuBiPro – Kultur –und Bildungsprojekte (DE), E@I (SK). The project is supported by the EU fund Europe for Citizens.