'Her Take: Rethinking Masculinity' at Chobi Mela X | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 06, 2019

'Her Take: Rethinking Masculinity' at Chobi Mela X

'Her Take: Rethinking Masculinity' is a seven-part exhibition, by seven female photographers of a photo agency called VII. Armenian photojournalist, Anush Babajanyan, and a member of VII, exhibited the series of photographs at Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, on the fifth day of Chobi Mela X.

In this project, each photographer narrates their take on masculinity through visual representation. By exploring masculinity historically and culturally, they try to reframe and challenge the concept of it.

The first part of the series is called 'Outside the Binary' by Linda Bournane Engelberth, where she explored the world of people that identify themselves as non-binary. “For me, being non-binary is more of an internal thing. One day, I feel stereotypically masculine, and next day I am more feminine. Sometimes I feel I am neither,” says one of the subjects of her photographs.

The second part, titled 'The Secret Garden of Lily La Palma', showcased the work of Maggie Steber, who photographed men around the world with flowers. Growing up without a father figure, or any male influence, Maggie always found men mysterious. Hence, 'The Secret Garden of Lily La Palma' is her effort to unfold the male mystique. The third part of the series included the works of documentary photographer Sara Terry. Her project, 'Rethinking the Male Gaze', is a response to the contemporary conversation about gender, power and representation. Engaging as a photographer, Sara recreated some of the famous paintings of nude women from art history, drawn by men.

Other featured photographers of the series included Nichole Sobecki, Jessica Dimmock, Ilvy Nijokiktjien and the speaker of the session, Anush Babajanyan herself. Few of their projects titled, 'Afri Man' and 'Brick' challenged the notion of masculinity in African community and exhibited six portraits of senior transgender women. In the end, few portraits of Anush Babajanyan were shown, where she dressed herself in the clothes of men who left a mark in her life. “To observe and understand the men I have gotten to know, I dressed into their outfits,” said Anush.

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