Lana Slezic is currently living in Herat, Afghanistan where women in rural areas still continue to struggle for basic freedoms. In her work Slezic hopes to“highlight a significant global issue that will bring attention back to the women of Afghanistan and contribute to the restoration of the country.” The women’s expressions, stance and clothing may suggest to Westerners a patriarchal dominance to which Western women are not subject, and as such highlight the polarities that distance us from the unknown – freedom versus captivity, joy versus distress, emancipation versus enslavement. An image of a woman standing, obscured behind a lacy curtain, depicts a prostitute, a trade that is secretive and unacknowledged in Afghanistan. These images may suggest shame, protection and powerlessness, but also spirituality, compassion and grace.
Born in Toronto to Croatian parents, Lana Slezic focused her attention on Dubrovnik and Croatia for several years and the resulting body of work reflects an intimate picture of a region affected by numerous international conflicts. Developing her interest in old cities and their people, Slezic's current project documenting the lives of Afghan women and girls deepen an awareness of human rights and gender issues yet romanticize the secret life behind the veil.
Lana Slezic received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario in 1997 and then studied Photojournalism at Loyalist College in 2000. Following an internship at the Magnum Photo Agency in New York she worked for The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star but currently prefers the liberty to travel that comes with freelance work. Slezic has worked for publications such as Time, The New York Times, The London Times and British Vogue among many others across North America, Europe and Asia. She is currently working on a book about Afghan women and girls.
Four billboards, each 16 x 12 feet South east corner of Richmond & Spadina