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Middle-Eastern Artist Exposes Absurdity Of Western Patriarchy

See what old gender roles look like when reversed

Image: Eli Rezkallah for Plastik Studios 2018

“In a Parallel Universe” is a new series of fictional images by Eli Rezkallah, founder of Plastik, the Middle East’s first visual publication.

“Last Thanksgiving, I overheard my uncles talk about how women are better off cooking, taking care of the kitchen, and fulfilling ‘their womanly duties,’” Eli recalls. “Although I know that not all men like my uncles think that way I was surprised to learn that some still do, so I went on to imagine a parallel universe, where roles are inverted and men are given a taste of their own sexist poison.”

Brand: Lux, Origin: USA, Year: 19656, Image type: Magazine Advert

The result is a series of images that confront the absurdity of gender stereotyping and prejudice. Issues that still affect both the Middle East and the West.

Born and raised in Beirut, the capital of a country wrought with danger, Eli’s magazine Plastik “developed more into reflecting the women I grew up with — the struggles that they went through and how they kept a pretty facade to cover what was going on in their minds and in their hearts,” Eli explained in an interview with Artnology.

Eli describes Beirut as the ‘biggest influence’ in his work and explained to Artnology, “Beirut is not a stable city whatsoever… it’s full of contradictions. On the one hand, you see a lot of political problems and it’s war-like, and on the other hand, you see people trying to live their life as if nothing happened. Some people would blame them for not being engaged so much in politics, but I completely understand…”

Brand: Hardee's, Origin: USA, Decade: 1940s, Image type: Magazine Advert

Image: Eli Rezkallah for Plastik Studios 2018

After spending his late-teen years working as a stylist for one of Lebanon’s top photographers, Eli moved onto be a creative director for fashion shows. His freelance project, Plastik, became an instant success when he was only 23 years old.

Brand: Van Heusen, Origin: USA, Decade: 1940s, Image type: Magazine Advert

Image: Eli Rezkallah for Plastik Studios 2018

“Plastik artistically considers the inner workings of a woman’s mind more so than her exterior,” Artnology comments.

Battling patriarchy from a base in the Middle East is no easy task. But it seems the West have plenty to learn from this perceptive Lebanese artist.

Have an ambition to make a living as an artist yourself? Find out how ‘bedroom artists’ get started.

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