Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — An installation of photos taken by women who sell goods at Bãi Đá Market on the outskirts of Hà Nội is now on display at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.
The exhibition is the result of a project carried out by the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) during the last two years.
Photos, videos and stories told by the women and things they use everyday, such as baskets and conical hats, are placed together to look like a market and depict the women’s lives with both happiness and sorrow.
Titled Across the Storm, the exhibition displays photos taken by the women and arranged and curated by photographer Bình Đặng and artist Duy Ly.
With support from the Dutch Embassy to Việt Nam and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the CSAGA gave cameras to women at the market to take photos depicting their lives.
Taking it in: People contemplate photos taken by the women who do business at Bãi Đá Market. — VNS Photo Minh Thu
Đặng spent three and a half months with the women at the market to encourage 20 people to share their lives and dreams through photos. He also recorded his feelings about the lives of the women who passed through hardships.
“In our lives, we may all experience different storms,” said Nguyễn Vân Anh, CSAGA’s director.
“The 20 fates that we meet at this exhibition have always learned to dance their way through the storms in their lives. Those are storms of violence, patriarchy and the traumas of life. They have been dancing and creating halos even when their hearts are full of wounds.”
Bãi Đá Market is a traditional market located on Highway No 21 from Hòa Lạc Village (Thạch Thất District) to Sơn Tây Town. It’s not only a place to exchange goods but also for people to communicate. Personal stories and experiences with hardship and pride are shared easily at the leisurely countryside market, evoked by the exhibit space.
In this space there are stories full of tears and bitterness from women who are suffering from domestic violence. They have been abused and assaulted by their husbands; all the people at Bãi Đá Market are aware.
A cabinet with documents about gender equality and gender-based violence is set up at the market exhibit. The stories of domestic violence, once unspoken yet widely known, are now discussed freely and loudly with the guidance of the CSAGA specialists, according to CSAGA’s director Anh.
Museum market: Photos, videos and stories told by the women and things they use everyday, like baskets and conical hats, are arranged to evoke the sight of a market. — VNS Photo Minh Thu
One encouraging activity is zumba dance in the morning, which calls the women to liberate themselves to be more confident and express their emotions through healthy and funny dance.
“Training and sharing sessions, workshops with victims at the market and the local authorities’ focus on specific cases have wrought significant changes,” said Anh.
Astrid Ban, UNFPA Việt Nam Representative, said visitors will be motivated to weather the storms of their own lives. People can join the journeys of the hard-working women dancing in the storms and learn to overcome the obstacles in their own way.
“We hope to build up a more beautiful and spectacular Việt Nam and a happier living environment for all people,” she said.
Previously two documentary books with the stories of the women were published, one for women and another is for men. After the exhibition, a photo book comprising the photos displayed will be published. A model to support gender equality and end gender-based violence will be widely distributed by CSAGA.
“This one of our strategies in the period from 2017 to 2020,” said Anh.
The exhibition will run until November 20 at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hà Nội. — VNS