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Photo exhibition “Ask Yourself” at the Europe House until December 1

Last night at Europe House, we opened the photo exhibition entitled ASK YOURSELF (ZAPITAJ SE), dedicated to combatting gender-based violence. The exhibition is part of the campaign of the same name, organized in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, NGO Attack, the Association of Psychologists and the Football Association of Montenegro.

The photos were made using the double exposure technique, merging photos of women and broken objects, which indicates that the abuser perceives the person he is committing violence against as an object, not as a human being. The photos are accompanied by strong psychological messages, with the aim of making the viewer question and reconsider their attitudes and behaviours, which can lead to, support or justify violence.

The exhibition was opened by the ambassador of the European Union in Montenegro, Ms Oana Kristina Popa, the author of photographs, Ms Nada Vojinović, and the representative of the Association of Psychologists, Mr Mihailo Šaranović. Ambassador Popa emphasized during her address that both men and women must join forces in order to change things. Men, specifically, must make an effort to learn more about the problem of gender-based violence, recognize it, condemn it and support women in this process.

“We combined art, psychology and football and created something unique and powerful. We entitled the campaign “Ask Yourself”, in order to make men “ask themselves”; to think about what violence means and how it affects women and society as a whole. Today, we are making another small contribution to the creation of a safer society, a society without gender-based violence, this time through the art of photography,” said the Ambassador.

Gender-based violence is something that photographer Nada Vojinović has struggled with herself, which is why she is dealing with this topic again and again. She emphasized that violence should never be justified, nor should we look for excuses for it.

“These photos should send a clear message that we don’t want any more women to suffer, end up in bruises or be killed. These photos should cause the whole society to ask themselves, change consciousness and awaken compassion, so that we are ready to fight on behalf and for those who cannot fight this fight alone, because violence is all around us,” she stated.

Psychologist Mihailo Šaranović called on everyone to make an individual effort in order to move towards betterment, even though that process can be painful and difficult.

“I would like this to be a space where we can all feel a little vulnerable, therefore exposed to something that is quite problematic and present in our society. It is important that we do this, so that we can be an example to others, regardless of whether they are men or women. It is important that these topics are raised outside the circle of like-minded people, in order to allow them to be vulnerable through a personal example and motivate them to fight against their own discomfort,” he said.

Last Thursday, Europe House, in cooperation with the Football Association of Montenegro, organized a preview of the exhibition at the city stadium in Podgorica, during the match between Montenegro and Slovakia. On the way to the stands, the fans were greeted by displayed photographs with messages, so they had the opportunity to read how suppressing emotions leads to violence, that violence is not something innate, but learned and that it is always a conscious choice, that jealousy is not love, that violence is weakness, not manliness, and that supporting an abuser is complicity. On that occasion, the Spokesperson of the Football Association of Montenegro, Mr Branko Latinović pointed out that they supported the campaign, because they wanted to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence.

“Only by working together on education and prevention can we influence the resolution of this problem. As a sports organization, we want a society that will provide equal opportunities and conditions for both men and women, just as it is the case on the football field”, said Latinović.

The photo exhibition, which will be displayed in Europe House until December 1, was organized to mark the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which will last from November 25 to December 10.