At a time when the issue of gender identity and equality is the topic of almost every major conversation around the world, it would seem like we're reaching a point of saturation. But this is precisely why an exhibition including the works of artists around the world is imperative, insists curator Sarah Høilund, whose ‘Photographing the Female’ exhibit opens on March 9.
As a part of the FOCUS Photography Festival in Mumbai, the exhibition is set to showcase 25 photographers from 17 countries — including Hanna Putz, Prarthna Singh and Iiu Susiraja — and their exploration of female identity.
“We need female narratives in the forefront of social story telling so that women have something to identify with,” Sarah says. Among the 25 photographers, featured in the exhibition, 23 are female and two are male. “When it comes to reclaiming female identity, I definitely think there’s a massive difference with how we (females) gaze at it,” she says, adding that including a male perspective in a show is not a bad thing. “It’s important to be inclusive in the show because you want the audience to be overwhelmed and understand that it’s a diverse experience.”
Despite the differences in style and approach to the subject, the issue of identity is universal and that makes the work relatable on every level. The photographs cover a wide range of themes like body image, sense of self, conformity and stigmatization.
“This project is about starting a conversation and using art as a tool for social change. That’s also why this project goes beyond just India and involves multiple nations. In the world that we live in today, female identity is just as individual as it’s global," Sarah says, adding, "There are so many similarities between us now, along with differences, and we can learn from this."
What you can expect from ‘Photographing the Female’
‘Photographing the Female’ will be exhibited at the FOCUS Photography Festival in Mumbai, from 9th March- 23rd March.