“I was having a coffee with a transgender woman in the centre of Pristina when an unknown person came up to us and spat on her without saying a word. She sat there in silence and shock, but that did not deter her to continue speaking about transgender persons even more fervently”, says Aleksandar Crnogorac, an author of the photo-exhibition “Trans-Balkan”.
The exhibition is now staged in Belgrade, until February 22nd, at the Dom Omladine Gallery.
“The idea (behind the exhibition) was to offer something more through the artistic expression, to break down the prejudices, touch the deepest feelings in people, but also to encourage questions”, Aleksandar Crnogorac says.
The exhibition features photographs of transgender people, their life stories, fears, experiences and everything they encounter as a marginalized social group. Crnogorac says that it was not easy to research this topic, and that he worked on the project for more than two years which resulted in 34 different and authentic human stories from our area.
He says he would not like to single out any of the featured transgender persons because he does not want to minimize anyone’s life story or their contribution to this project. But he acknowledges that he was particularly touched by the stories of elderly transgender people living in rural areas.
“I photographed an elderly lady who lives near Bijeljina and who is 80 years of age. Her path and her struggle touched me in a way in which almost no other story did. In 1995, after having a sex change operation, this lady returned to her hometown and the local community completely abandoned her. She told me that no-one spoke to her about three years after the operation. Nobody wished her a good day, let alone gave a warm word or any other kind of human warmth or interaction”, says Crnogorac.
Exactly because of everything he saw, felt and experienced through interacting with transgender people and working on the exhibition, the author says that he would like people to see his exhibition with an open mind and heart.
Although Crnogorac originates from this part of the world, he usually lives en route Milan-Belgrade, but also in America where he studied. He got interested in photography when he was a teenager.
This post is also available in: Italiano