No Man's Lands - Yamakala (2020)
Gil Mualem Doron
The work is part of a self-initiated photography project No Man’s Lands (2015-2020). The project uses a collaborative approach to convey the stories of young men in limbo situations. On the surface, the portraits are of individual men, yet as a whole, they also reflect contemporary global issues such as political persecution, the refugee crisis, racial discrimination, the rights of queer and transgender persons, inequality and homelessness.
As part of his socially engaged art practice, Mualem-Doron always had initial conversations with the men he photographed, most of whom he encountered during his travels, in social circles, and online. These dialogues allowed each participant to be involved in the decision-making process relating to the production of the photographs, including where and how they were portrayed and to reflect on the final results. Further, although the images in this body of work stand alone and can be interpreted in myriad ways, the inclusion of texts based upon these conversations and written by Mualem-Doron or the participants are an integral element of his Mualem-Doron participatory approach.
In giving up some control over the process of image-making, the photographs in No Man’s Land embody disparate photographic styles, locations, and diverse aesthetics. However, what unites them and the project is the process through which they were created and the visual traces of it.
Being in no man’s land or in limbo can imply suspension and separation—the space of the hiatus. In a way, it is not unlike the act of photography itself—an act that entails a suspension of time and space and the separation of ‘one’ and the ‘other’. Yet photography, like these in-between spaces and situations, is the result of, and engenders, instability and transformation. In socially engaged practices, this instability is the result of the breaking down of ‘fixed’ positions, that of the photographer and the ‘subject’. No Man’s Land is an attempt to visually explore and represent this intersectional space.