© Noncedo Gxekwa, 2011
Width: 42.3 cms
Height: 24.3 cms
The constraints societies and cultures place on our physical appearance bind us to certain notions of who we are, not only that, but they bind the opinions and conclusions people have of us just by the summation of what we manifest physically. To an extent we have been visually conditioned to expect certain things of the sexes when we judge them optically. Males as well as females are supposed to look a certain way. It extends beyond what magazines or fashion houses tell us to wear. It stretches as far as the physiology of what makes someone have feminine or masculine attributes in terms of their biological makeup. And while the science and genetics of this is no fake variable, the sexuality of an individual, it can be argued, can rest within a spiritual sphere in as much as it can a physical one.
I have often been questioned about the masculine portrayal of lines that carve my face. Why is it so when biology has decided that I am female? People question the likeness of a female to a male, it’s frowned upon and more often than not, lacks understanding because it goes against the status quo of what is accepted as a womanly feature, or male feature for that matter. Many times it’s a self- induced argument, “Why can’t I have a softer jaw? A softer brow?” Is that a woman? The peace resides in the acceptance of these attributes as just being decorations. That sexuality is fluidity and that anything that is portrayed on the outside is a just box, a packaging which like any other shell, can be tampered with. And has.
The inspiration behind these photographs seeks to express this very notion of flux, the shift from the extrinsic to the intrinsic. The shift to accept what is inside instead of seeking for it on the outside. The portrayal of the women in these photographs takes nothing away from their femininity, because what they look like is not who they are. But it seeks to explore and pushed the boundaries of the norm and expand on the idea that the sexuality is an expression of the spirit everything else is a physical derivative.