Waria, Bencong, Banci di Bali
Sexual liberation is and has been a part of Indonesia's ancient cultures for some time, with a long history of transvestite entertainers, hostesses and prostitutes in Bali, known as 'banci', 'waria' or 'bencong'. Banci is a nationwide (and some what derogatory) term for male to female transvestites, to well known bahasa gay/banci variants of the term are binan and bencong.
Although homosexual behavior is not illegal, there is little more tolerance towards homosexuals or transvestites within the Hindu Balinese culture compared to other parts of Indonesia, and what is captured in this photographic series is an enchanting and somewhat unsettling look in the faces of these girls.
Take A Drag is an intimate series developed over a number of years since 2005, that sets out to explore the boundaries of culturally defined gender within a marginalised community. Shooting at first on film, the initial aim was to capture an authenticity of the kind found in theatre. However the portraits also provoked the questions of what drives gender, and more importantly the place of individuality and tolerance in a world full of judgment.
Take a Drag has exhibited at the Sydney Seymour Centre, commissioned for the 2010 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, and at Can't Think Straight Gallery, Daylesford VICTORIA