Selected female authors from Europe and the rest of the world examining the actual role of photography in the articulation of the female experience.

In the time of post-capitalist global turmoil, technological advancements, strengthening of the right-wing extremism, the growing influence of the religion that limits women rights again, and the semblance of democracy in the 21st century, we are facing a situation in which women must fight anew for the rights that had been won long ago.

In the midst of initiatives such as #MeToo, Free the Nipple, The Future is Female, and phenomena such as the female gaze, it is necessary to re-examine the current role of photography in representing and articulating women’s experiences, and to critically rethink how digital culture is transforming feminist approaches to the image.

Psychoanalyst Joan Riviere in her essay Womanliness as a masquerade published in 1929 describes womanliness as a mask worn in the patriarchal society – a mask that actually forms an inherent part of the female identity. How is femininity as a mask reflected today? What is the role of our own bodies in a selfie-obsessed culture? Who are the viewers that we’re addressing?

In the last five years, the term the female gaze has become a ubiquitous buzzword in the art and fashion world. Many young artists have consciously adopted this term as a feature of their own approach, their activist and emancipatory engagement. The female gaze is juxtaposed with the dominant, patriarchal male gaze which objectifies the female body and defines the position of the woman as passive.

The Exhibition Active, Engaged, Aware – Women’s Perspectives Now was originally showed in 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb as the main exhibition of the 10th edition of the Organ Vida festival. Out of twenty initially selected authors in the Kortil Gallery we are showing the work of five artists who consciously take on an active role in articulating possible new perspectives on personal and direct women’s experiences.

The authors were selected by a six-member international jury of global leading photographers, curators and theoreticians, and the curators of the exhibition are Lovro Japundžić(HR), Marina Paulenka(HR) and Lea Vene(HR). An edition of the exhibition presented in Zagreb in 2018 was awarded at the prestigious Lucie Awards in New York.

Participants: Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi (IT), Cemre Yesil (TR) & Alice Caracciolo (IT), Gloria Oyarzabal (ES), Catrine Val (DE) and Ilona Szwarc (PL, US).

The programme also includes regular guided tours through the exhibition in collaboration with the art history students from Rijeka.