The Bacha Posh Project – An Archive on Drag in Times of War
Part I – Disavowals or Cancelled Confessions
Part II – Double Still Lives
Silver gelatin prints on baryta paper, eight frames, each 60x40 cm, 2016.
The Bacha Posh Project is a photographic and performative archive on drag in times of war. It is evolving from the construction of the surrealist artist Aziza Mehran Ahmad and his work. Ahmad’s long-term research on bacha posh (girls who grow up as boys) appears through portraits, still lives, documents, comments and shiny surfaces. The archive sheds light on Ahmad’s life and work as a main figure of early modern drag. Doubling material and retracing the work of an artist of the past, The Bacha Posh Project aims at a retrospectively embodied practice. This process offers possibilities to overcome the actual time of sameness and produce temporalities detached from the ongoing ruptures of war.
An excerpt from Ahmad’s letters:
„In the beginning my only information about the cultural practice of dressing girls as boys was my own experience. Trying to find others turned out to be an unimaginably difficult project, as many Afghans thought that was importing a European practice. Accidentally, I heard about a woman who lived as a man. He had refused to give up his boyhood, like I did. And he was willing to meet me. A whole community of bacha posh appeared around him. My later work was based on all those bacha posh whom I decided to embody by myself for the creation of the archive.“
Performance: Dorian Bonelli, Cana Bilir-Mayer
Camera: Anja Manfredi
Costume/Textiles: Constanze Schweiger
Assistance: Theda Schifferdecker, Alexandra Wanderer
Concept, Text and Processing: Ana Hoffner