After much deliberation, I am pleased that the wealth of details held in these portraits can now be fluidly viewed online via Zoomable.
My desire to seek out masks worn in the name of masculinity, started with a working title Mas(k)culinities. Realised after a few years that it’s not just the men scarred by the expected role play of their gender, notion of what is considered feminine, has equally damaged generations upon generations. Behind the making of these images hides much more detail. Heart to heart, frank interviews in which people shared personal narratives of how they grappled with societal expectations of gender, masks that were discarded along the way, and those they still hold on to.
1001 UnMasked – Portraits of Gender is it’s current iteration, with over a hundred finished portraits made during the past six years. Process of making more is on hold since couple of years back my computer’s motherboard died. Much gratitude for this gap, as it has allowed me space to seek avenues to best experience the work. During this time I also started life drawing again after nearly three decades. It’s become clear to me now, that as a human being I seek a connection with my fellow humans. Whether through touch therapy, drawing or photography, my role is that of a facilitator or conduit. My self, mirrored in the people I engage with, is represented back with love. It is a joint endeavour. It is our story.
Shahrazad wove story after story to stay alive at the hands of the king. I don’t have a sword hanging above my head, though it’s an innate need to tell and retell stories. It’s in the telling of stories that all the subjects silently gaze into your eyes. Seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary when a heart recognises the other.
My heart is so small
Its almost invisible.
How can You place
Such big sorrows in it?
“Look”, He answered.
“Your eyes are even smaller,
yet they behold the world”