A month-long 3D virtual exhibition, "Masculinity in your eyes", was inaugurated on December 2 at EMK Center. It is available for visitors on their official website. Conducted as a part of EMK Center's two-week campaign under the global initiative, 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the exhibition intends to address the root causes of violence, by enabling people to look for solutions. The exhibition will continue till December 31, and it is conducted with Kunstamatrix, a unique tool that enables artists and organisers to create beautiful 3D showcases of artworks.
The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign generally consists of seminars, discussions and field activities. This year, the pandemic has greatly impacted the structure of our lives, as to curb the spread of the virus, we are forced to stay home. It has also led to an alarming rise in gender-based violence. "Gender-based violence is not some discreet incidents but the result of social constructs built upon the ideas of masculinity, where men are supposed to be superior, strong and better than women, empowering them to do whatever they want to," shared Aisha Siddiqua, Program Assistant, EMK Center.
The exhibition intends to educate people from all walks of life on the concept of masculinity. The organisers identified the global campaign of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence as the perfect opportunity for conducting the event, as gender-based violence is an issue that needs the attention of both women and men.
In order to provide an effective medium for people to reflect on the issue, they came up with the idea of conducting an exhibition that asks people to define masculinity. "The encyclopedic definitions can easily be found on Google, but we wanted to know what comes to people's minds when they hear the word, 'masculinity' and how do they visualise masculinity and portray it to others," said Aaqib Md Shatil, Program Coordinator, EMK Center.
After an open call for artworks, posters and photographs, they received over 80 original entries from 53 individuals who portrayed masculinity through their work. Apart from Bangladesh, artists of Indonesia, North Macedonia and India submitted entries for the exhibition. After a rigorous assessment, 30 pieces were selected for the exhibition.
Ten-year old Simin Habib Safa's artwork, entitled 'Father', asserts
that to her, masculinity means her father, who loves her, helps her mother in daily chores and takes care of the family members. Artist Fahad Hasan Kamzee portrays the fundamental structure of masculinity and patriarchy through his collage. Md Labib Haque further emphasises that the true essence of masculinity lies in the fact that a man must ensure gender equality, starting from his home. "In my painting, a man is distributing food to everyone in the family and does not believe that household work is the sole responsibility of women," he added.
The exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of Subrata Das, Assistant Professor of the Fine Art institute, Chittagong University and Rowshon Akhter Urmee, Advisor, Girls Not Brides, Plan International. Subrata spoke at the inauguration, highlighting the power of art in generating awareness in the society and appreciated EMK Center for the initiative, while Rowshon urged the artists to utilise their creativity to create artworks that build connections between different societal issues and gender-based violence.