A new artistic show in London by the name of the “2026” exhibit is being sported at the Somerset House in London through August 29th. The exhibit calls into question how masculinity in men’s wear is presented in society. It presents sixty compelling images of how that might very well change over the next decade.

 

"2026" exhibit
One photograph from the “2026” exhibit.

At present, the project is doubly curated by London stylist Ibrahim Kamara and the Johannesburg-based photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman. “2026” is part of a larger series of displays and performances called “Utopian Voices Here and Now”. The venue showcases British artists exploring the issues that affect them most e.g: body, gender, sexuality and race, to name some.

“2026” itself focuses on an idealized vision of black masculinity some ten years into the future. It is aimed to challenge heteronormative attitudes that surround men’s wear in the fashion industry. One such photograph was taken in Africa and features a young black man standing against the city backdrop. He is proudly wearing black leather brogues, knee-high green school socks, white polo pants, a peach silk robe that is covered in flowers, and a glittering pink belt and pirate hat. Gardeners’ gloves and gold chains also join the young man’s interesting ensemble.

Kamara and Moolman met on the internet, and began their work by dumpster diving and searching thrift shops for fabrics. These were subsequently reworked into fabrics, then garments, that were aimed at creating self-expression for the black male body.

“I wanted to create a utopia where you can be whatever you want to be, without emphasis on masculinity or sexuality,” Kamara mentioned. “I wanted men, in particular black men, to just be able to be and breathe like every other type of man has been able to breathe for centuries, without the pressure and policing of black masculinity lingering over them.”

“2026” will be on display until the 29th of August at the Somerset House in London. More information on the “2026” exhibit and the “Utopia Here and Now” displays can be found here.

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