Dan Nelken: HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda

Blue Sky is pleased to announce HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda, an exhibition of photographs by Dan Nelken.
Saturday Opening, March 5th, 12 PM – 5 PM
Artist talk: Saturday, March 5, 1:00 PM at Blue Sky

HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda presents 360-degree humanizing portraits of a cross-section of working women in rural Uganda through words and images. This project brings to light the conditions under which women living in rural Uganda find themselves suspended amidst old-world, gender-defined responsibilities, rapid population growth, and financial obstacles to education for girls.

Knowing that each woman had a compelling story to tell, and aware of his outside status, Nelken partnered with Beatrice Lamwaka, an award-winning Ugandan author. Lamwaka interviewed each portrait subject in her local dialect and then wrote a narrative to accompany their image striving to maintain their vernacular cadence and expressions without modifying them for Western audiences.

The women’s stories, in conjunction with the portraits, help us better understand their double-bind. They must earn money to pay for their children’s education–schooling could ensure a way out of economic hardship–but they often do not earn enough money to fulfill this essential goal. And yet, the women have hope, which is seen in their postures, words, and poetry.

Dan Nelken (American, born Tel-Aviv, Israel, b. 1946) is a photographer, visual artist, educator, and documentary storyteller whose portrait-based photographic projects provide a window into the world of communities outside the cultural mainstream.

His portraits aspire to accentuate each person’s individuality while providing contextual references to communities, cultures, and rituals. His ongoing, award-winning project, HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda, exemplifies his commitment to this theme as does his prior major work, Till The Cows Come Home: County Fair Portraits.

A veteran studio-based advertising and editorial photographer, Nelken has received numerous domestic and international awards. His work has been exhibited and published widely and is included in museums and private collections.