Can we assume that the social relationships established in different societies are always based on the same biological gender differences? Gloria Oyarzabal’s WOMAN GO NO’GREE project, which won the Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2019, seeks answers to these and other questions. The artist’s exhibition and five other finalists can be seen from 14th to 30th June in OFF Piotrkowska in Łódź.
Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2019 is a part of the festival which does not assume thematic, age or territorial limitations of its creators. It presents the most interesting and current phenomena in contemporary photography, selected in the open autumn recruitment each year. We invite specialists from the world’s most important media and photographic institutions to join the jury. This year’s award winner received a cash prize of PLN 10,000 on the opening day of the festival, and on 14 June she will open her exhibition in OFF Piotrkowska. On the first day of the festival we also met the winner of the “Photographic publication of the year 2019”. – the award went to Łukasz Rusznica and his “Subterranean River”. There were also five other books on the list of distinctions: “Augustis 2.0”, “Tomek Tyndyk/Theater”, “S-21” by Slawek Pliszka, “Case” by Anna Orlowska, “Alexander” by Michal Siark.
It is clear from religious and linguistic research that the original African people of the Jorubs were allocated social roles on the basis of genealogy, not gender. In the period prior to colonization, gender played absolutely no role in the division of labour, monarchy, duties or affinity. Gloria Oyarzabal, looking at European ideas about Africa, colonization history and contemporary colonial practices, also looks at the concept of gender as an artificial product of Western culture and the postcolonial, typically European, feminist views defining the “role of women” in the West, in opposition to the social structures of indigenous African civilizations. Can we assume that the social relationships established in different societies are always based on the same biological gender differences? Is male gaze considered normative in Africa? Does the male body also symbolize power? How is the identity of African women formed?
Gloria Oyarzabal is a Spanish artist photographer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she diversifies her professional activity between photography, cinema and teaching. Graduated on Conservation & Restoration of Art and Master’s degree in Creation & Development of Photographic Projects at Blankpaper School of Photography. Her work has been shown at Organ Vida Festival (Zagreb, Croatia), Format (Derby, UK), Fotofestiwal (Lodz, Poland), Athens Photo Festival (Greece), Lagos Photo Festival (Nigeria), PHE PhotoEspaña (Spain), Thessalonika Foto Museum (Greece) among others. In 2017 she was selected for the artistic residency Ranchito Matadero Nigeria-South Africa where she develops her last project about African feminisms in Madrid and Lagos. That same year she wins the Landskrona Dummy Award, which allowed her to publish his first photobook “Picnos Tshombé”. She is also the winner of Encontros da Imagem Discovery Award 2018.