ALEXANDER (SASHA) KARGALTSEV responds to an unfortunate and offensive editorial depicting Dasha Zhukova, an internationally celebrated curator and media personality, which scandalized the internet this week. The photo depicts Ms. Zhukova sitting on a chair shaped as a black female figure with legs high in the air, strapped by a leather belt. The publication came out on Martin Luther King’s Day, a national holiday in the United States and a symbolic date for racial and social equality worldwide.
In an exclusive statement to OutThere Kargaltsev said: “Dasha Zhukova’s choices for this image are appalling and unacceptable. I felt an immediate urge to respond to such a shocking visual statement by one of the most powerful Russian-speaking cultural entrepreneurs in the world. I was forced to flee my native Russia because of ubiquitous homophobia and xenophobia, and it deeply saddens me to see that racism is now being glamorized and thus made not only acceptable but trendy by the likes of Ms. Zhukova. My own composition reverses the visual injustice and offense perpetrated by that editorial and in a way restores the equality of genders, races, and sexual orientations. Sadly, I understand very well that my work will be seen by most Russians as provocative and inappropriate, while that repulsive image (published on Martin Luther King’s Day of all days in a year) will hardly make anyone over there shake their head.”
ALEXANDER KARGALTSEV is a queer New York City-based photographer, theater and film director, author, and activist. He received critical acclaim for his ASYLUM series depicting gay refugees from Russia, as well as his work in the theatre. Alexander continues to be actively involved with the LGBT immigrant community in New York. Click here for more information about the artist and his work.