BEAUTIFUL MEN: next destination Sulawesi.

Join a photographic trip towards the discovery of the universal dynamics of the affirmation of a gender identity other than the biological one.

Project visual BEAUTIFUL MEN: next destination Sulawesi.
End date
Out of €5,000
24 %

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Actuphoto supports the project BEAUTIFUL MEN: next destination Sulawesi.

BEAUTIFUL MEN: next destination Sulawesi.

<p> <strong>BEAUTIFUL MEN</strong></p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>Male</strong> or <strong>Female</strong>? Nature or culture? Choice or fate? Is the border between male and female a certain fact, an intimate need or a social convention? These are the questions I came across while I was working on my international photographic project <strong>BEAUTIFUL MEN</strong> that investigates a dynamics that is present in every epoch and in every culture: the <strong>affirmation </strong>of a <strong>gender identity that is other than the biological one</strong>. I have started my trip in <strong>Cuba </strong>in 2004, where I have photographed a group of drag queens, I have continued the project in <strong>China</strong> in 2006 where I have followed a group of male performers that were playing female roles, and then in 2012, in <strong>Tonga</strong>, I have portrayed the fakaleiti, men grown up as women, the third gender of Polynesia. <strong>Do you want to join the trip?</strong> The next destination is the<strong> island of Sulawesi </strong>in <strong>Indonesia</strong>, where I will photograph the <strong>Bissu</strong>, a group of t<strong>ransgender animist priestesses</strong>. Biologically males, but apparently women, they embody the coexistence of the male and female principles.  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="14-1458724609" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="12-1458724622" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <em>Images from <a href="" target="_blank">THE QUEENS OF BEIJING</a> - Beijing, 2006.</em></p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>THE TRIP</strong></p> <p>  </p> <p> After my bachelor in <strong>Photographic Arts</strong> taken in 2002 at the<strong> University of Westminster</strong> in London, I have concentrated my research on the use of the photographic medium in the <strong>representation of identity,</strong> working as portrait photographer for the main Italian and international magazines.</p> <p>  </p> <p> I have started this project in <strong>Cuba</strong> in 2004, in the secret rooms of San Isidro, a popular neighborhood in <strong>L’Havana</strong>, where late at night, same as chrysalis, men were undergoing a painful and melancholic process to transform themselves into women. They performed <strong>illegal</strong>, <strong>clandestine</strong> and colorful shows, advertised at the very last minute to a very selected audience. This series has received several important awards including a prize at the <a href="" target="_blank">WORLD PRESS PHOTO 2005</a>. The work continued in 2006 in <strong>Beijing</strong>, where some groups of transvestites started to perform publicly in some gay clubs, after having secretly kept alive for decades the ancient tradition of the Chinese Opera to have male performers for female roles. This<strong> tradition</strong> was <strong>interrupted by Mao</strong> in the 60’s. This series was exhibited at the <strong>Triennale Museum</strong> in <strong>Milano</strong>. In 2012 I have travelled to <strong>Tonga</strong> on assignment for <strong>Vanity Fair,</strong> to photograph the ancient tradition of the <strong>fakaleiti</strong>, the third gender of <strong>Polynesia</strong>. They are men grown up as women, for their own choice or for choice of the family. The fakaleiti are perfectly integrated in the local society, they can have a partner, have a family and adopt children. Every year right before the monarchy celebrations, they take part to the very popular Miss Galaxy festival, where the fakaleiti beauty queen is elected.  </p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="304" src="//;wmode=opaque&amp;;;key=ff2702755d9749cda571c6d6c2f3eb46&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=youtube" width="540"></iframe></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="World_pol_2007_2-1458914887" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>NEXT DESTINATION SULAWESI</strong> With your help, I would like to produce the next chapter of this project on the island of<strong> Sulawesi,</strong> in <strong>Indonesia, </strong>where the ethnical group of the<strong> Bugis</strong> has kept alive the ancient tradition of the <strong>5 genders</strong>, male, female, <strong>calabai (false female),</strong> <strong>calalai (false male)</strong>, but most of all the <strong>Bissu</strong>, a <strong>cisgender </strong>that embodies the<strong> 50% of the male principle</strong> and the <strong>50% of the female principle</strong>. The Bissu operate as <strong>priestesses</strong> celebrating <strong>animist rituals</strong> that were integrated in the local islamic tradition, and that define the fundamental steps of the community (the rice seeding, the departure for a pilgrimage, the blessing of the swords and so on). In the ritual dances of the Bissu, their<strong> hermaphroditism</strong>, both apparent and spiritual, is considered a tool to concentrate spiritual power and to get in touch with the spirits of the underworld. The social organization of the Bugis and the spiritual function of the Bissu, is a rare example of how this universal dynamic is perfectly integrated by a community. The Bugis believe that the <strong>coexistence of the 5 genders</strong>, can guarantee the <strong>cosmic harmony</strong> and the <strong>balance of the earth</strong>.</p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>PHOTOGRAPHY AS EYEWITNESS OF THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF THE BISSU</strong></p> <p>  </p> <p> The importance of this work is not merely artistic, but it also has the f<strong>unction of witness</strong>. The Bissu are a rare example on the symbolic and spiritual scale of the gender identity and of its balancing power. The <strong>future</strong> of the Bissu i<strong>s in danger</strong> because of a substantial<strong> lack of calling</strong> towards this spiritual path among the <strong>youngest generations</strong>. This is putting at risk the existence of this millennial tradition.</p> <p>  </p> <p> There are very few photographic and video documentaries on the Bissu, among which <strong>this video</strong> produced by the National Geographic.</p> <p>  </p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="405" src="//;wmode=opaque&amp;;;key=ff2702755d9749cda571c6d6c2f3eb46&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=youtube" width="540"></iframe></p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>AUTHORS THAT HAVE WRITTEN ON THIS PROJECT</strong></p> <p>  </p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Giovanna Calvenzi</a>, photo editor, journalist and curator.</p> <p>  </p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Silvia Nucini</a>,  journalist and managing editor at Vanity Fair Italy.</p> <p>  </p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Antonio Mancinelli</a>,  journalist, writer and managing editor at Marie Claire Italy.  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>EXHISTING PROJECTS</strong></p> <p>  </p> <p> <em><a href="" target="_blank">THE QUEENS OF CUBA - L'HAVANA</a></em></p> <p>  </p> <p> Third prize in the category Arts of the <a href="" target="_blank">WORLD PRESS PHOTO 2005</a> - First prize <strong>LE LOGGE  2004 TFF</strong> - First prize <a href="" target="_blank">PORTFOLIO IN PIAZZA</a> - Savignano photo festival 2004</p> <p>  </p> <p> Published  by BMM, Vanity Fair, the Sunday Times, Io Donna - Corriere della Sera (together with an interview to Mariela Castro, Cuban sexologist, daughter of the Cuban president Raul Castro), Gioia, Rolling Stone - Exhibited at Galleria Sozzani - Milano, Museo di Roma in Transtevere - Roma, United Nations Headquarter - Ny, Made - Torino.  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="1-1458724445" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="18-1458724468" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="23-1458724480" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="24-1458724533" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <em><a href="http://%20" target="_blank">THE QUEENS OF BEIJING - BEIJING CHINA</a></em></p> <p>  </p> <p> Exhibited at Triennale di Milano, Made - Torino. Published by Internazionale - Roma, Max - Milano, Images - Paris.</p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="1-1458724579" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="4-1458724593" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="2-1458918499" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <em><a href="" target="_blank">THE QUEENS OF TONGA </a></em></p> <p>  </p> <p> Exhibited by Made - Torino - Commissioned by Vanity Fair, published by GQ.</p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="2-1458724681" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="4-1458724703" src=""></p> <p>  </p> <p> <img alt="3-1458724725" src=""></p>

Allocation of funds

<p> I have decided to start the crowdfunding because of the crisis in the editorial maket, that since a few years ago, was producing these kind of projects..</p> <p>  </p> <p> The crowdfunding will be covering the following costs</p> <p>  </p> <p> - Intercontinental and local flights 1.000 euros</p> <p> - Local fixers and interpreter 500 euros</p> <p> - Accomodation and restaurants for a month 2.000 euros</p> <p> - Local transports 400 euros</p> <p> - Production and delivery of the rewards 700 euros</p> <p> - Kisskissbankbank commission 400 euros</p> <p>  </p>



1 set of 3 photographic prints 10x15 cm taken from the project - shipping included in Italy - please add 5 euros for shipping outside Italy

Estimated delivery: September 2016


1 photographic print 18x24 cm taken from the project - shipping included in Italy - please add 5 euros for shipping outside Italy

Estimated delivery: September 2016


1 signed photographic print 30x40 cm - taken from the project - shipping included in Italy - please add 5 euros for shipping outside Italy

Estimated delivery: September 2016


1 signed photographic print 50x70 cm taken from the project - shipping included in Italy - please add 20 euros for shipping outside Italy

Estimated delivery: September 2016


    1 signed fine art photographic print 50x70 cm in limited edition 1/25 taken from the project - shipping included in Italy - please add 20 euros for shipping outside Italy

    Estimated delivery: September 2016


    a portrait of you shot by Marcello Bonfanti in a location to be defined in Milano.

    Estimated delivery: September 2016


    A 2 days photographic workshop for a group of maximum 15 people

    Estimated delivery: September 2016

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