Neo Gilder – “African Men Hurt Too”
“This project started when my closest friend had told me that her brother was going through depression. Their family didn’t understand what was going on and urged him to ‘snap’ out of it.
The whole situation triggered a sense of frustration and anger within me. My parents and sisters were clinically depressed at certain points in their lives and this played a huge role in tearing my family apart – but at least we knew what was going on and they got the help they needed. I can’t even imagine someone going through what my family went through and not being able to have clarity and to also know that they are not alone.
I’ve titled this series ‘African Men Hurt Too’ because I think many African families grow up with the idea that the male role must be upheld by a strong figure who doesn’t show any form of emotions that equate to weakness. This idea is taught to us in our cultural groups, upbringing, art, books we read, movies we watch, the music we listen to, the sports we watch, etc. The male role is portrayed as dominant, strong, and unbreakable.
My series challenges these ideas by depicting men crying. I hope that when people look at my images they see something striking – firstly because its something they would rarely if ever see in their lifetime – but also that they see the beauty in releasing emotions that we as people are sometimes taught to keep in to uphold unrealistic ideologies.”
A South African photographer, now living in the United Kingdom with dreams of seeing as much of the world as possible. Neo Gilder is a photography graduate who obtained a first-class honors degree at the Cambridge School of Art. She aims to highlight controversial issues in her photography through the use of portraiture. Through her journey in the United Kingdom, she has focussed her work on various themes such as; sexual abuse, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the relationship between Africa and the Western world, the Rwandan Genocide and she is now currently working on a project focussing on depression in African men. A final piece of this project was exhibited in Cambridge at the Ruskin Gallery, In London at the Truman Brewery and the Winns gallery.