We live in traditional,conservative and patriarchal society where partner’s, institutional or system violence is a constant threat. Criminal justice system in Serbia continues to fail to protect human rights, specially the patriarchal oppression women face in this country. The women’s movement ACT Women worked to create new spaces for women to push back against that oppression through workshops, performances, installation etc . As far as I am concerned, using art and education for dialogue, emancipation and greater awareness of the problems is necessary more than ever.
My cooperation with the group ACT Women started last year with the project Borders. I was so happy when I got a call from one of the members Vesna Bujosevic to participate in the project with photography workshop as a teacher. Short summary of the project was: “BORDERS , feminist, interactive research project, aiming to explore how women see borders (depending on their geographical and social-cultural positions), and how they relate (body or sexual) borders to their safety and possibility to defense themselves. We will include and animate women in 3 towns in Serbia to reexamine their understanding of borders and how they influence on their safety. After workshops they will present photographs that they made to the audience in their own towns and in Belgrade within 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women”.
It was a huge challenge to prepare photography lessons which will support the main idea but the result was really interesting. Lecture combined theory-women who have influenced photography now and in the past, and the practical part- how to use camera and capture pictures in order to present some problems or issues we are dealing at the moment. The main topic was, of course, the Borders. They could work with digital and film cameras.
We gathered women of different age and occupations.During the workshop participants were encouraged to develop their individual vision focusing on main topic but beside photography they have learned about body and voice techniques. That part of the workshop was lead by Slađana Rackov and it was really important for women, specially that some participants were introduced with feminist work for the first time, also it was important for me. Awareness of your body movements or breathing could be helpful in different variety of situations.
There were around 80 women in all three towns that were participating on workshops. The result was 50 photographs for exhibition.
When I saw all pictures for the final exhibition I was so proud… and I’m so thankful at the same time.I’ve got a huge opportunity and there was the outcome ,also friendship with ACT Women members moved me in many different ways. If you follow link below you will see the photos women made during the workshop.
Final exhibition “Borders” was in Cultural center Rex in Belgrade. Photos of participants, performance by ACT Women and my video installation. The performance was great, they were remarkable and this is the right time to introduce you with the members of ACT Women, through the pictures from performance.
Place for the exhibition was a stage for the performance.
Nothing would be possible without enormous effort and great organization skills of lovely Zoe Gudović. Every single element inevitable for the realization of the project and exhibition was there thanks to her.
Here is a short video documentation where you can see how they act together, performance starts when Zoe opens the door.
Trough the project Borders I met these wonderful and talented girls. I had opportunity to treat medium of photography differently than usual, to teach photography and above all , I had chance to motivate women to take part in feminist projects. Recently I become a member of the group and I am very honored and grateful for that.
Here we are (from left to right) Slađana Rackov, Vesna Bujošević, Nada Pleskonjić, Romana Caran, Zorica Nikolić, Ana Imširović Đorđević and in the middle Zoe Gudović.