A gay artist from Russia has created a flipped image in response to the controversial photo of Garage magazine's white, female editor-in-chief sitting on a "black woman" chair.
The Russian editor-in-chief of Garage magazine, Dasha Zhukova, came under fire for an editorial photo showing her seated atop a chair designed to look like a black woman with a belt around her waist and thighs and her legs up in the air.
The photo, which offended many, began circulating on Monday, Jan. 20, which was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Zhukova eventually apologized and called the decision to appear with such a racially insensitive piece of art "regrettable." She also reasoned that designer Bjarne Melgaard's actual intent was a "commentary on gender and racial politics."
But, some did not find the apology sufficient.
Alexander Kargaltsev, a gay New York City-based photographer and gay activist, decided to stage his own response to the "outrageous and tasteless" portrait with an image of a naked black man seated on a naked white man, whose legs are folded up to create a "chair."
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"I was forced to leave Russia because of the discrimination I experienced as a gay," Kargaltsev told The Huffington Post in an emailed statement Friday. "I'm disappointed that the tradition of xenophobia is so strong in my home country that such an image of Ms. Zhukova can appear as if it is normal and unremarkable. Russian people do not seem to realize when people offend the principle of color, nationality, sexual orientation and so on."
Kargaltsev explained the idea behind his photo to Out There Magazine, saying:
[I]t 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.
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