Featured Posts

To top
2 Oct

These portraits explore the way it feels to inhabit

Just Wide Enough To Hold The Weight is the group show reaching out across the ‘abyss of otherness’

The camera is such an incisive tool of exploration and portraiture is such a revealing medium, throwing light on the topic in addition to the photographer and their perspective on the world. A latest exhibition, Just Wide Enough To Hold The Weight  (at Latest York’s Baxter St gallery) brings together the work of three exceptional artists using their cameras to research all of the nuances of gender identity and the complexity of selfhood. 

Curator Phalguni Guliani was drawn to the work of Marvel Harris, Siddhartha Hajra, and Soumya Sankar Bose due to what she describes as “their quietness”. She elaborates: “These will not be grab-you-in-the-collar works, the effect they’ve is that of being tapped gently in your shoulder with the push of information ever so barely. They don’t announce themselves but are present potently in the way in which, say, a slant of sunshine is.”

While the exploration of gender is a theme which underpins the exhibition, Guliani feels this can be a doorway to a broader conversation. “Whenever you enter their narrative worlds – their operatic interiorities – the conversation is far wider… wide enough to carry the burden of this door that has framed it.”

The concept of weight was at the guts of Guliani’s vision for the show. “I used to be considering a terrific deal in regards to the weight of images, the burden of every small gesture you do in the middle of a single day or a single life,” the curator tells Dazed. “I used to be excited about the burden of meaning, and the way we throw it across an abyss of otherness, especially with photography where there may be the inherent ‘other’ who makes the image.”

The curator explains how each artist is working on the intersection of the on a regular basis and the experiences that arise while inhabiting a queer body. “With Marvel, there may be a celebration of the inherent nature of our bodies to alter. With Siddhartha, there may be a lyricality in highlighting the weather of kinship and performativity in gender that none of us are a stranger to in our day by day lives. And with Soumya’s vignettes, you could have a rendering of hope and anxiety with a brush that’s, to me, as alluring and as absurd because the omnishambles of contemporary living.”

Othered and isolated by his struggles with an eating disorder, gender, autism, and depression, Dutch photographer Marvel Harris began turning the camera on himself as a method of overcoming his sense of alienation. Once I grab my camera to take self-portraits, this most frequently is once I have no idea the best way to take care of feelings corresponding to anxiety, loneliness, or desperation in regards to the future,” Harris tells Dazed. “I can then take a look at myself from a distance and stop my negative thoughts from spiralling uncontrolled. Photography is therapeutic for me; it helps me manage my emotions, understand my very own complex identity, and connect with the world around me when I want it essentially the most.”

Siddhartha Hajra characterises his work as being “driven by instinct” and the way in which images he’s created interact with one another. The exhibition features Opera Monorama, a triptych from an ongoing series reflecting on “the operatic world of transgender artist Monorama”. The Latest Delhi-based artist explains: “These images depict a slice from Monorama’s life, circumscribed by the act she plays as a goddess along together with her ensemble troupe in city neighbourhoods. I desired to bring out the ephemeral quality of gender as a societal construct that this transgender artist navigates.”

Soumya Sankar Bose’s work consists of documentary film and photography gathered over a period of several years in an exercise of tremendous trust and sensitivity. “Once I began this project back in 2014-15, homosexuality was a like criminal offence in India. So, the people you see in these photographs were very much concerned about their gender identity and sexual decisions because it was a legal offence. They might not reveal their gender identity in public and even at home since homosexuality was taboo.”

Guliani concludes by encapsulating the sensibility of the exhibition: “For me, this show is a testament to grit. An early working title I had for it was ‘I’m sorry that I didn’t die’, so the sensation I’d want visitors to take with them is a couplet from the poem that frames the show’s entrance – that we will live, and we’ll.” 

Just Wide Enough to Hold the Weight is showing at Baxter St until June 8 2022

Recommended Products

Beauty Tips
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.