Here we will publish written stories from the lives of the people who inspire us.
The Other on the Scene
INTERVIEW by Liz Olofsson PHOTOGRAPHY by William Harvey Howe
My interview with the dancer and choreographer Ninos Josef was not until a good while, yet I was already outside of his apartment in trendy Södermalm, Stockholm. This was deliberate; when mentioning to acquaintances that I was going to interview Ninos, they all had made this face and cautioned me to be prepared for a challenging and intellectually difficult conversation. When, during the interview, I felt comfortable bringing this up with Ninos, his comment was: “You have heard that I am an angry foreigner”.
Ninos Josef is an internationally acclaimed modern and neo-classic dancer, with a repertoire from some of the most renowned dance companies in the world. Despite having performed at The Royal Swedish Opera, he still has difficulties getting the dance jobs he believes to be qualified for. At one time he was denied a job overtly due to his skin color – it was too dark. His former principal at the Royal Swedish Ballet School had warned him about this, there was no market for Ninos’ talents in Sweden, and he would do best to move abroad.
INTERVIEW by Liz Olofsson PHOTOGRAPHY by Emilia Stålhammar
The visual artist and doctorate student, EvaMarie Lindahl, wants us to question the notion that animals (non-human animals) are that different from us. To partake in the exploitation of animals is to support the use of the same mechanisms of oppression at work in the oppression of humans; oppression looks the same regardless of whether the victim is a woman, person of color, disabled person, or animal.
Dissatisfied with how animals are portrayed in historical art – as mere symbols or objects for humans to use – she initiated the interdisciplinary research project “Re-framing the Non-Human Animal in Art Production” where she recreates portraits to give the animals back their personhood. Through her large-scale graphite drawings and text-based performance work, she encourages the audience to question history as they know it and their own relationship with animals.
INTERVIEW by Ashik Zaman PHOTOGRAPHY by Daniel Rajcsanyi
I first come across Daniel Rajcsanyi while researching art students from the art academy in Vienna (Akademie der Bellenden Künste Wien), whom to possibly bring into one of my exhibition projects as a curator in Stockholm.
Daniel is dressed in a red thong held up by suspenders, with tassels covering his nipples and is found balancing on a hoverboard with an IKEA mirror under his right arm. It’s a compelling sight and somehow fits an idea I’ve entertained about a performance-based exhibition. We get in contact and I eventually learn about his sex work and am then struck by his candor on the matter.
INTERVIEW by Liz Olofsson ILLUSTRATIONS by Marta Casagrande
Emma has been providing sexual services for almost 15 years. It all started in a popular chatroom, there, she easily got in touch with her first client. Today she has her own professional website, decorated with explicit, yet sophisticated photos of herself. The terms of service are clearly listed, both regarding Emma's fulfillment in addition to what is expected from the client. It is much like you would expect from any other service provider; policies about time/material, travel expenses, and cancellation are brought forth. However, unlike most Sunday night's e-shopping experiences, this one allows you to order not just a casual dinner but a session of anal sex or a threesome as well.
In 2017, she was one of the founders of Fuckförbundet (translating to "the Fuck Union") – a grassroots association by and for sex workers in Sweden.
India – vibrant, diverse and loud – never stops challenging my perspectives. Like when I realized that an arranged marriage in India is just called marriage, whereas a self-choice marriage is called love marriage. I remember a young couple in Bengaluru proudly announcing to me that they had a love marriage. Love marriage is equivalent to the western view on marriage, where the couple’s decision to be together is based on mutual attraction and compatibility. Arranged marriages are decided by parents and other relatives based mostly on religion, caste and socioeconomic background. Some years after my encounter with the couple in Bengaluru I got to know Surbhi – a woman in her mid-twenties, living in a village called Kanganpur in northern India. In June 2012, at 18 years of age, Surbhi got married to Vincent. A so-called love marriage. It was a rocky road to get there.