27 October to 23 December 2017
Exhibition Preview: Thursday 26 October 6-8.30pm
Belfast Exposed presents Catharsis – a new group exhibition which brings together three projects by contemporary photographers who use portraiture in innovative ways to explore and come to terms with complex family or personal histories. Employing different strategies, each artist uses photography as a means to unravel or respond to a repressed narrative around personal identity. Through the process of creative investigation they open a broader dialogue around the constraints that societal norms can impose upon the freedom of individual expression.
Amak Mahmoodian is an Iranian photographer, born the year after the revolution in 1979. She uses the official portraits taken for the Iranian birth certificate – the Shenasmenah – to question the representation of women in her home country. A Shenasmenah is valid for life, but the photograph must be updated in keeping with standards imposed by the government. For a woman, the taking of this photograph is a personally charged affair – her hair must be covered, and her face free of excessive make-up. If the woman’s appearance is not deemed officially ‘correct’, the photograph will be rejected.
By collecting and creating an archive of Shenasmenah portraits and fingerprints, and by taking the time to get to know each of her subjects, Mahmoodian seeks to draw attention to the individual personalities of the women behind their public-facing image.
Through her project, Ken. To Be Destroyed, Sara Davidmann also explores the tensions between an ‘acceptable’ public-facing image and a private personal identity. Sara Davidmann and her siblings inherited an arch.