NEWS: MATRIARCHY @ Side Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Liiva Salme by Anne Helene Gjelstad

The concept of a matriarchal society in which women dominate all aspects of their community including the economy can seem fantastical to us in the UK, despite our newly appointed Prime Minister.

Matriarchy is a photography exhibition at Side Gallery showing the work of two incredible photographers that celebrate the women-led communities of the indigenous Zapotec people in Juchitán, Mexico and the small Estonian Islands of Kihnu and Manija – often considered the last matriarchal society in Europe.

Graciela Iturbide, a world renowned and influential photographer from Mexico, immersed herself in the small town of Juchitán and found the political, sexual and economic freedom of the Zapotec women profoundly inspiring. Although the photographs fall within the documentary tradition, Iturbide always adds a mysterious or surreal element to her pictures. Her work helped to bring forth a new wave of feminism in Mexico which is about as influential as art can get.

Award winning photographer and educator Anne Helen Gjelstad’s Big Heart, Strong Hands is a story about female strength and resilience in Estonia. These women take care of everything on land while the men are at sea. The exhibition explores the harsh conditions of this unique society on the Islands of Estonia and their daily lives and activities.

Matriarchy is at Side Gallery, Newcastle from Saturday 29th October-Friday 23rd December.

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