Amman(womeninjordan)—-In association with the 6th Image Festival Amman, Charlotta Sparre returns to Jacaranda Images with photographs that explore and question the identity and womanhood in the Middle East and North Africa – the girl, the woman, the friend, daughter, sister, mother, aunt and grandmother.
Through her photographs Charlotta Sparre shares her love and passion for the Middle East and North Africa. Building on a technique of double exposed photographs, the combined pictures create something both familiar and dreamlike – this time in “A Story About Her”, an exhibition on identity and “womanhood” in the Middle East North Africa”.
Who am I? Who are you? Who are we as a collective? How do we define ourselves and what defines us? What is identity? How much of our identity is our own creation, how much a reflection of society around us?
“During the last few years I have been thinking more and more about identity, my own and others. Maybe it’s my many years abroad that have led to these thoughts, maybe it’s the newer layers of my own identity that have invoked them. As someone who has spent half of my life in my native country, Sweden, and half of my life in the Middle East North Africa region, I feel in many ways like a global citizen, strongly influenced by both Nordic and Arab cultures. Over the years my identity has been changing and developing, but one part of my identity has been constant and has continued to grow stronger with every year – my female identity, my identity as a woman, my “womanhood”. That led to a wish to tell a story about some of the amazing women I’ve come across in the Middle East and North Africa region and to portray the key role they are playing in building and carrying cultural identities from one generation to the other.”
Gender identity forms an important part of a person’s identity and defines to a large degree how one views oneself both as a person and in relation to other people, ideas and nature. Other aspects of identity, such as religious, ethnic, occupational etc. may also be more or less significant, or significant in some situations but not in others. You ask a man who he is and he often answers with his occupation. You ask a woman and whatever her occupation, you often get an answer that is much more complex and multidimensional.
As a “Western” woman living in the Middle East North Africa region, Charlotta has always felt that her female identity created a special bond with other women: “Working in what is still a male dominated profession and living and travelling in male dominated patriarchal societies has probably created an even stronger sense if identification with other women.” Already on her first meeting with the region 30 years ago, she realized that doors that were closed to men, would open for her. In spite of sometimes big differences in lifestyles, there often seems to be a sense of “sisterhood” between women, a sisterhood in having been girls, daughters and friends, sometimes sisters, in having gone through similar physical changes and challenges in life.
In this exhibition Charlotta portraits women the Middle East North Africa region and explores elements of “womanhood” as an identity – as girls, women, sisters, friends, mothers, grandmothers, etc. In the region, as elsewhere in the world, women are increasingly represented in all walks of life and in different professions. However, women also to a high degree continue to carry out crucial traditional chores, like fetching and carrying water, washing, cooking and making handicraft. They also tell stories and contribute to their families’ educational and spiritual development and hence play a key role in building and carrying cultural identities from one generation to the other.
Already as a child Charlotta was fascinated by the region’s history and culture, and above all the people and the societies and ever since she was a student, Charlotta has spent her life studying and working on issues related to the Middle East region. She sees cultural cooperation as a bridge to enhance relations between people in different parts of the world. Through cultural expressions the uniqueness and beauty of each culture and identity can be manifested. “With my images I attempt to capture the ‘soul’ and the essence of different places and people that fascinate me. With this portfolio I want to illustrate a rich cultural heritage through portraits of women of all ages”, says the artist.
The event is part of the 6th Image Festival presented by Darat Al Tasweer, where Jordanian, French and other international photographers will present their art works in the framework of the Festival in different venues in Amman.
Born in Sweden, Charlotta Sparre’s professional life has for the last almost 25 years focused on the Middle East and North Africa, including postings in Libya, Egypt and Jordan and extensive travelling all over the region. She has lived in Cairo since 2013 where she serves as the Ambassador of Sweden.
Charlotta has an active and intense interest in political history, humanitarian issues and the contemporary challenges facing the region. Driven by both an insatiable fascination with her surroundings and a limitless curiosity, she manages to explore the dynamics of life wherever she resides.
Jacaranda Images is a store dedicated to showcasing original art prints and works on paper. Screen prints, etchings, lithographs, photographs, as well as reproductions and posters, are collected from around the globe and are shown in a continuously changing environment. The selection of work is suitable for those looking for affordable art pieces for their home or corporate environment. Jacaranda Images has expanded its premises and the artistic experience with Jacaranda TOO! located next door to its Jabal Amman gallery. Jacaranda TOO stocks a comprehensive range of unique stationery, paper products and beautifully designed gift items with a focus on artistic integrity and design excellence.
6th Image Festival Amman
The 6th edition of the Festival is organized by Darat Al Tasweer with the support of various venues and partners. The Festival is the single major event dedicated to photography in the region and aims to gather professionals together to attract a broad audience and create opportunities for sustainable cultural exchanges. Each edition has promoted a different theme that guides the creative overview of the Festival, and in 2017 IDENTITY will be the theme of the Image Festival.
The exhibition will take place at Jacaranda Images, which is located on Omar Bin Khattab Street, First Circle, near Books@Cafe.