zondag 1 november 2009

Through the eyes of the Dutch Istanbul Diana Blok Photography

Through the eyes of the Dutch Istanbul is seen as a city far behind Amsterdam. And yet, surprisingly in Istanbul and Ankara the Turkish community accepts homosexuals much more than the Turkish community in Amsterdam.

During her visit to Istanbul in 2008 Diana Blok discovered an active gay nightlife more visible and open than expected. She imagined the lesbian world to be totally hidden but found it to be most open in terms of meeting and speaking, even though there is no clear Lesbian community. Gay bars for men are more common, but their willingness to share their lives was more hidden. It is better to be a tough woman in Turkey, they said, than a fragile man.

Diana Blok got in touch with two organizations (Pink House and KAOS GL), both active with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals concerning human rights. With their help she found subjects who could relate to her photographic work and were willing to pose for the camera and speak openly about their lives. They shared their courageous, heartfelt stories and the difficulties they face to be free human beings within the traditional society in which they live. Many gay men, lesbians or transsexuals lead a double life.
It is a complex subject within a complex country in the process of change. Some socio-cultural aspects are opening, others disappearing and yet others hiding. Physical and psychological harassment towards these individuals is still common.

Although it is not illegal to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans in Turkey, there are still discrimination practices and persecutions against them.

“Having been brought up in Latin America as a Catholic I wondered how the taboos of my upbringing differed from that of the Turkish society today. It is obvious that there is still a great problem with visibility, but it has become clear that there is also change and dreams which very slowly take on a new form.” Diana Blok

This project is dedicated to all individuals who struggle for a voice to express their love.

Diana Blok (1952, Montevideo Uruguay) grew up in Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala. Since 1974 she lives and works in Amsterdam. She is self-taught. Her work is exhibited, published and purchased worldwide. Since 1985, she often participated in group exhibitions in the Melkweg Galerie, where in 2005 her last solo exhibition "Paradise In Disguise" was shown. Issues around sexual identity are always a returning theme in the work of Diana Blok. Lees verder ...

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