Croatia’s Organ Vida photography festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a program exploring the female gaze in a changing society.


Titled Active, Engaged, Aware – Women’s Perspectives Now the festival reflects, questions and problematises different cultural expressions and issues related to the construction of identity, family and home, sexuality and gender roles and the representation of women.

Exhibitions and lectures will take place across 17 venues scattered across Zagreb, with the main exhibition at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

“In this time of post-capitalist global turmoil, technological advancements, [the] strengthening of the right-wing extremism, the growing influence of 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,” say festival curators Lea Vene and Marina Paulenka. “[But] how and why do women protest and ignite change? Who are the heroines of our time? How are girls’ and women’s social roles and patterns of behaviour shaped?”

The pair says that the festival has deliberately emphasised inclusion and diversity in order to provide a real overview of the global feminist scene.

“In the last five years, the term ‘female gaze’ has become a ubiquitous buzzword in the art and fashion world,” they say. “In the midst of initiatives such as #MeToo, Free the Nipple, The Future is Female, 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. Can the female gaze be perceived as an intergenerational phenomenon? And has it been commodified and framed as merely a trend?”

The festival’s opening week will take place from 10-16 September 2018 in Zagreb, with all exhibitions open until the end of the month. For more information, visit the festival website here.

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