Concealment – Beyond Togetherness

Texts by Eduardo López Moreno®
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1. Concealed with shoes and umbrella LQ
It is modesty, the search of identity or a way to customize a fundamental cultural and religious principle? The Swahili Island of Lamu in Kenya. A young girl walks home with her face concealed carrying her shoes and umbrella

Introversion, reserve, shame or pride. Images of an inner world or a reflection of a wider cultural landscape? Visual symbols of a cryptic society. Initiation processes? Many reasons to conceal the face, many forms to present a portrait. Some suppress their personality for secrecy or avoidance, others to change our perception about them, others to seduce us. Yet, these unusual portraits convey another form of self-expression.

Hidden prosession
A Group of neighbors who are worshipers of a Saint who was not really a Saint, and in fact he did not exist walk in a procession in Luanda, Angola, with their faces covered by sort of masks. This Saint was created by a TV series from Brazil.
Faceless hands
A loader of abandoned objects walks by a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, covering his face with his fleshy hands.

Face concealment represents a different meaning and a way of being. It invites us to revise existing canons and conventions and rethink the forms of aesthetics. A self-inflicted isolation creates a high degree of social distance, building a boundary of privacy. It occludes thoughts, feelings and actions. The deliberated attempt for not being there, or being differently, is a rupture of reciprocity that causes some distress and changes our societal relations.

Preparing for a clandestine crossing in the sea
Three young women planning to cross the Red Sea at night from Djibouti to Yemen in a clandestine small boat cover their face. They were not aware that there was war in Yemen and a sea in between. Their aim is Saudi Arabia, the risks are multiple and start by crossing the sea in a small and crowded boat

An act of affirmation and also an act of identification. An act to put forward specific values and attributes. It is modesty, the search of identity and in some places to customize a fundamental principle. It is a way of putting forward priorities. The question is, it is a barrier or a form of bridge? It is mechanism of exclusion or a selected inclusion?

The stone women
Ukume is a young girl 25 year old. She walked more than 55 km with his boyfriend to move together to Saudi Arabia via Yemen. They did not know it was a sea in between, and now they are preparing to cross it clandestinely. They did not believe either it was war in the other side of the Red Sea, thinking it was a lie to discourage them. They will spend the night on a small hill in Obok, Djibouti, sheltered by rocks, expecting to get a cheaper ride, which will most likely be overcrowded.

Without human faces, the images presented invite us to mediate values and attributes that are presented in a different form. By hiding their faces in different fabrics, the characters portrayed in this series explain something about them, and at the same time raise interrogations and doubts.

7. In the madrassa LQ
Young girls are allowed to enter the madrassa in the part that is usually reserved for young men and cover their face.

These images interrogate history and culture and make us rethink the notions of time and place, and predictability. They are darkness and revelation, questioning our capacity to read other societies.  The portraits are asymmetrical presences that more than defining something they represent it, bringing us to the ultimate level of otherness.