Bodies in Trouble: Lana Šlezić
It is a powerful image, the photograph of Lt.-Col. Malali Kakar, then the highest ranking woman in the Afghan police force, resolutely pointing a handgun. Surely it is the contrast the burqa and the gun, power-objects often seen together but rarely combined, that makes this photograph so strong. If only it were merely that. In 2008, a few years after this photograph was taken, Kakar was assassinated. The image of a woman, not only wielding a weapon but leading men, is a powerful symbol. Too powerful for some.
Canadian photographer Lana Šlezić went to Afghanistan in 2004 on a six-week assignment and stayed for two years. Her work documenting the lives of Afghan women is collected in the highly aclaimed book Forsaken, published in 2007. Šlezić explains more about her work in an interview on PRI’s The World:
Interview available from the PRI archive here.
Bodies in Trouble includes the portrait of Malali Kakar by Lana Šlezić. Although there are many strong photographs in the exhibition, this is one of my personal favorites. Bodies in Trouble opens Thursday July 22nd, 2010 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa.