Velvet butterflies. Guided tour with the curator
The exhibition "Velvet butterflies. A journey across transgender Indonesia" presents 100 photographs by Elisabetta Zavoli, who lived in Jakarta between 2012 and 2018.
Elisabetta Zavoli, Mami Yuli coperta da un velo rosa, Giacarta, Indonesia, 2013
11 December 2021
16:00 – 17:00

Between 2012 and 2018 the artist Elisabetta Zavoli lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she documented the life of the "waria" community, whose name derives from two words: "wanita" (woman) and "pria" (man). Male at birth, waria are considered to be men with a female soul or women trapped in male bodies. Femininity is achieved on a physical level through make-up, clothing, attitude or by resorting to surgery and hormone treatment. Their transformation resembles that of caterpillars becoming butterflies: deep and total.
The 100 photographs on display aim to investigate the inner process of the transformation needed to realize one's identity, the concept of falsehood and the duality between the deepest self and the image returned by the mirror. If stereotypes about transgender women are often emphasized - sex workers, noisy performers, HIV-positive - Zavoli's story shows instead humanity, irony, pain, melancholy.

Elisabetta Zavoli is a documentary photographer working mainly on environmental issues. She has won numerous awards, including the Journalism Grant for Innovation in Development Reporting (2016); the Earth Photo Award of the Royal Geographical Society of London (2019); the Picture of the Year International (2021) and the International Happiness Cortona On The Move Award (2021) for "And in darkness you find colors", a series of shots taken during the first Covid lockdown in Italy. Her works have been published in "The New York Times", "The New Yorker", "BBC", "National Geographic", "International". Her photos have been exhibited in 34 exhibitions on 3 continents.

The guided tour is held by curator Thelma Gramolelli.

Biblioteca Poletti
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Palazzo dei Musei: Largo Porta Sant'Agostino 337, 41121, Modena, Modena, Italy