For her first exhibition at that’s what x said, Agneskena explores black men’s experiences in Western society, highlighting their multiple identities and shared narratives. Through photography, the artist collects stories and creates her own, forever evolving. In her work, Agneskena captures the impact of societal expectations on the body, the mind, and relationships.
The artist challenges masculinities by highlighting the numerous experiences of black men in Belgium, and more specifically in Flanders and Brussels, and the many stereotypes imposed onto them. In a European society, where the patriarchy and neocolonialism still prevail, black men are subjected to stereotypes conveyed both on a societal level, and in the private sphere. Is that your brother? is a platform for black people to meet, delve into themselves, and open up through communication.
This photographic project highlights the power of belonging without erasing the individuals that are part of the community. When filming, the artist attempts to create a space of trust, allowing the participants to share their stories in a context that is free of judgments. In Western society, black men are often seen as strong, dominant, violent, threatening and with a high sexual drive. Answering to what society demands of them, many of them suppress their emotions, dissociating from their feelings to appear manly and avoid standing out. In that reality, it is forbidden to be afraid, to show signs of suffering or to be vulnerable.
In this context, Agneskena provides a space for black people to feel heard and understood. This exhibition aims to highlight their experiences in our society, in the aim of liberating their voices and freeing ourselves of gender and race injunctions.
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