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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Guns and Poses: Does a gun take its shooter to the bottom of the barrel?

Does a gun take its shooter to the bottom of the barrel? A photo exhibition explores.

Written by Dipanita Nath | New Delhi |
Updated: November 12, 2014 10:25:01 am
Cesar Lopez of Colombia. Cesar Lopez of Colombia.

In a photograph, Cesar Lopez of Colombia looks like a popstar, with a mohawk, holding a guitar. Or is it a gun? It is both and is called an Escopetarra, which is Lopez’s argument against the fascination that young people have for weapons in his native country. The photograph is a part of an exhibition, titled “Men and Guns”, held on the sidelines of MenEngage, a global symposium on masculinity and gender justice, at the India Habitat Centre till November 13. The images by photojournalists Kate Holt and Heidi Schumann “illustrate the diversity of relationships that men have to gun violence”. These are on display at the patio of IHC.

The exhibition covers a trajectory in which Schumann( who shot Lopez) offers a point of hope. Holt’s image of Tribal Chief Solomon in Sudan, on the other hand, is a conundrum. Solomon, the head of the Pojulu tribe whose main source of survival is the cultivation of cassava, beans and groundnuts, picked up weapons when war came. In the absence of any training, the tribals possibly learnt how to use these guns through trial and error. Today, after the war, they are unwilling to hand their weapons back.

Advocacy groups could find encouragement from the story of Christian Garcia of Guatamala, a 22-year-old computer wiz, who develops web pages and virtual platforms. His earlier career as a member of the mara gang is behind him now. Also from Guatamala is Silent, a young man whose face is hidden but the tattoos of his body reveal his past as a member of a gang. The text reads that the tattoos will fade with time “but the stains in your heart from years of violence cannot be erased”.

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