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With this intimate series of images, Rebecca Swan launches an inquiry into the understanding of gender across cultures, nations, and generations. Assume Nothing features frank and arresting images of twenty-five participants, along with their candidand sometimes heartrendingcomments about what it has meant to exist outside of traditional gender identities. The participants range in age from twenty to sixty. They are Haitian American, Samoan New Zealander, Maori, European Australian, Aboriginal, and African English. They are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, and pansexual. In terms of gender, they are transsexuals, gender queers, eunuchs, sister girls, drag kings and queens, and the alternative gender roles traditional to Maori and Samoan cultures. In their blurring of boundaries, Swan's images ask readers to examine their assumptionsand even, at moments, their own sexuality. They reveal the harm that results from forcing living bodies to conform to preexisting roles and capture a deeper reality of struggle, uncertainty, and process. Above all, they point the way to the creation of a new vocabulary of gender and a world of increased tolerance where, when it comes to gender, nothing is assumed.
About the Author
Rebecca Swan is based in Aotearoa New Zealand where she balances her time between her art, commercial photography and teaching. In a quiet seaside neighbourhood in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, her studio is a light filled room in a 100 year old house which she shares with her partner Jack, their dog, Honey and cat, Mr Frost. They grow vegetables in the back garden and have a 150 year old pohutukawa tree in the front. For over twenty years her work has been published, exhibited and collected in Aotearoa and internationally. She won the S+ART award and in 2018 completed the Fulbright-Wallace Art Residency.