Who's afraid of reading girls?
110 portraits (2018)
Ink, acrylics on paper
Kerstin Kary's portrait series looks like an entire grove of honour. Her series is dedicated to 110 Nigerian schoolgirls.
Dragged out of their lives by Boko Haram and torn into the being of a mere existence, for us Europeans this existence consists only in a dark idea of the "black continent" and that means it does not exist at all. Through the form of the series, Kerstin Kary tries to convey a dimension of the drama to herself.
In addition, the portraits are not the usual phantom images of the perpetrators, but rather 110 phantom portraits of the hostages. But Kary in turn "abducts" the girls from their existence as phantoms. The graphic contours of the faces fill traits, shades that give us a brighter idea of victims who are physically threatened and yet disembodied as disposable masses.
In a subtle way, Kerstin Kary's portraits also contribute to the current MeToo debate. On the one hand, these 110 girls were no longer even able to say "me too," on the other hand, although they were abducted by men and (sexual) violence is first and foremost a male domain, the portraits nevertheless point not only to the male part of this world, but to their holistic insanity.
Text: Henryk Gericke