The complexities of sex work laid bare in InterseXion by Robert A. Hamblin
“Whatever views individuals may hold about sex work, whatever the statutes may say about the legality of sex work, we cannot deny the humanity and inalienable rights of people who engage in sex work.” Cyril Ramaphosa, 2016
Robert A. Hamblin presents InterseXion, a solo touring exhibition. This body of work is scheduled to tour nationally during 2017 and 2018.
InterseXion is centred within Hamblin’s photographic images, voice and video installations pertaining to sex work in South Africa, in particular, work with transgender women (male to female) who sell sex. Through this thought-provoking exhibition, Hamblin joins an active and ongoing debate around the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa and the social-political issues surrounding individuals in the industry, wherein transgender women are described as the most vulnerable populations.
“To survive living on the streets of Cape Town you just need to give them that theatre moment…. It’s about the look. It’s all within the look. A transwoman who looks like me, with drowsy eyes, like any other beautiful woman…. it becomes financially viable.” – Leigh Davids (Sex Worker and Activist),2017
Academics, feminists, activists and politicians alike are involved in a struggle to decriminalise sex work in South Africa. According to the sex work movement in South Africa, the criminalisation of sex work means that as many as 182,000 people who make a living selling sexual services remain vulnerable to abuse and have no recourse if they experience violence.
InterseXion seeks to encourage viewers to engage with the complexities of transgender sex work, poverty and social injustices. Hamblin engages with this complex subject from multiple perspectives by working with transgender women in urban and rural areas. Simultaneously, he pertinently juxtaposes himself, a privileged male trans person (female to male), to his subjects, conceptually and physically. Through this, the artworks act as a lens to engage with issues of both poverty and sex work in society and the classes who view this issue from afar.
InterseXion will debut at Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg in June 2017 and travel to the Freestate and Cape provinces from there (venues and dates to be confirmed).