Audio and photographic exhibition – ‘Caring man’ to open at the Goethe-Institut
The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust (OYO) is inviting the public to the opening of an audio and photographic exhibition on 13 August, from 18:00 at the Goethe-Institut Namibia Auditorium and entry is free.
OYO said the exhibition was produced by 110 girls and 110 boys in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions, the collection of photographs depicts men in the Namibian society as caring individuals, who step beyond the stereotype of violent and abusive persons.
“This project and exhibition are funded by the Embassy of Finland, while the production of the catalog and exhibition hosting is supported by the Japanese Embassy, UNFPA, and the Goethe-Institut Namibia,” they added.
Director of OYO, Dr. Philippe Talavera explained that in 2005 OYO initiated the photographic project, the Caring Namibian Man, to challenge the stereotype that all men are rapists, abusive, violent and the first round of the project was featured at the 2007 Grahamstown Arts Festival.
“Photographs and postcards were produced and featured men performing tasks that are not normally associated with the masculine gender such as bathing children and stomping mahangu, but sadly little has changed and gender violence remains an issue in Namibia because there is not one week that passes without tales of GBV on our newspapers,” said Talavera.
Talavera added that earlier this year OYO held weekend camps at schools in the Ohangwena and Omusati Regions.
“We taught the girls and boys how to use a camera and various skills of photography before they established clubs in their schools to talk about social issues and identify opportunities for them to take photos of men in their communities who were in the action of performing kind acts of any other being,” said Talavera. He further said that a total of 4947 photos were received before 30 boys and girls were tasked to select the 42 photos that form the final exhibition.
The opening of the exhibition at the Institut will feature the launch of two poems, ‘be a lady’ and ‘be a man, written by learners and based on what people feel is expected of them in their communities.
After its display at the Institut ends on 24 August, the exhibition will tour schools to encourage a positive discussion about the role of men in society and for the youth to engage in discussions around the understandings of feminine and masculine genders.
Talavera explained that caring men do not make the news and are left unseen as uncelebrated heroes, which is reflected in many matters encountered during the making of this project such as one incident in which learners wanted to photograph a man carrying the handbag of a lady while he was helping her but he refused.
“The opening includes a N$20 raffle for one of the photographs and a silent auction for another one,” concluded Talavera.