Guarding Lions, Sarajevo (ongoing)

Guarding Lions, Sarajevo, follows young people from diverse backgrounds, depicting their struggle for feminist and queer equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Grethen offers a contemporary portrayal of activists, artists and people who, through their sexual orientation or gender identity, question the traditional patterns of gender distribution in the post-war society.

Focusing on Sarajevo this series paints a fantasy portrait of the Bosnian capital and claims an equal and universal right to the city (Henri Lefebvre). The images offer a safe space — an idealized and imaginary refuge, which does not yet find its translation into public space and reality, where dissimulation and gendered territories still reinforce patriarchal and heteronormative patterns.

Participation in such a project by the subjects then becomes an act of resistance: the camera reinstate the bodies, as spaces of struggle, within the city: photography becomes a political tool by making participants doubly visible (through the photograph itself and in the context of the city).
This work offers them a platform through which they choose to define themselves with their own words, as a way of self-determination.

Installation Views: “Guarding Lions”, solo exhibition, Bildraum 01, Vienna, 2021, © Eva Kelety

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© All rights reserved, Elodie Grethen, 2021