Bodies in Trouble: Lana Šlezić

by Jackson

Malalai by Lana Slezic

This pro­file of Lana Šlezić is the sec­ond in a series of artist mini-biographies in the lead up to Bod­ies in Trou­ble, the sum­mer 2010 pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion at Galerie SAW Gallery.

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:

PRI the World inter­view with Lana Slezic

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.