• Monday, December 22, 2014

Freedom in the air

Nafis Ahmed's “Innate Identities” at Bengal Gallery

Staff Correspondent

Nafis Ahmed, at Bengal Gallery on the 10th of May, gave voice to  transvestites, who are ignored and treated as God's accursed ones. His photographs are there to make sure that people get to know the depth of  their sufferings and how they are mistreated and ignored by society. Nafis has studied Art and Design at London Guildhall University and studied at “Patshala” and Danish school of media and journalism. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian and Time. In 2013 he received the “Blurb Photo award” at Format International Photography Festival.
This exhibition of love between two individuals continues till 17th May.
The exhibition captures their identities, says Shale Ahmed Executive Director, of “Bandhu” Social Welfare Society.
The exhibition explores the lives of people who are born with particular sexual orientations. Nafis began his photography from 2003. This is his 12th solo. IDAHOT or International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, is observed worldwide on 17th May.
In Bangladesh, many do not want to talk about sexuality. Homosexuality happens to be even more stigmatised. These humans are like anyone around us. They should have their own choice, says Nafis.
This is the second part of his community work. The first part was exhibited at Goethe Institut in Dhaka. He has worked with coloured photography. Nafis has worked on this project for a month and a half.
The four people are transgendered. He has been to various places in Bangladesh, which includes Barisal, Gazipur and Dhaka, including the suburbs. The “Hijras” live with their guru. I took my camera, put aside my soda, and began photographing them. There are strong traditions followed by the “Hijras”. What attracted him to the community, says Nafis, is their joie de vivre, their love of colours. They have a vibrant, energetic happy life, which one must consider, says Nafis. The four are living in a very compact room. All four sleep in the same place. These people live on what money they can collect from bazaars, by singing and dancing when newcomers are born.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TAGS: Nafis Ahmed

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