About the project
Illustration: Regina Rivas ©
Kuña Jesareko (Female Gaze, in Guarani) is an arts-based research project dedicated to exploring a Paraguayan female gaze. It is part of a Master’s Dissertation for King’s College London.
As a social network, Instagram is a digital space for communication. But at the same time, it is a place for representation. The project began with the intention of using this platform in its two extensions -participatory and representational-, establishing through it a discussion around the concept of the female gaze.
A central influence behind the original idea of the project was Paraguayan artist Regina Rivas. Her work on illustration reflects a fresh perspective of the female gaze, which found on Instagram the perfect platform to connect with a young audience craving this type of content. Scenes of sex, women in diverse roles, and the female body itself are some of the themes that are continuously depicted by this illustrator. After a discussion with Rivas about the best way to find creative work in Paraguay that fitted into the notion of the female gaze, we agreed that Instagram was the best space to establish a discussion around the subject with other practitioners. Then, we decided to launch a challenge for the 8 of March, International Women’s Day (IWD) in 2018. To this purpose, we created a hashtag that summarised the intention of the project. The feedback was beyond our expectations: More than one hundred posts were found following #KuñaJesareko after the 8 of March. But this did not stop there, the project being an ongoing process: as these lines were written the number of posts have reached three hundred.
The second part of the project started in May, by gathering the pictures -or ´reposting’- on an Instagram account specially created for the project (@kunajesareko). The third and final part is introduced with this blog, which includes an online exhibition and a series of essays about the female gaze, what it means, how can be constructed, how it does challenge notions of femininity linked with national identity, and what is the role of self-representation and other ways of expression within the framework of digital culture. Twenty-five images where chosen for this purpose and displayed in five thematic sections, each one opening with an illustration of Rivas. Welcome to Kuña Jesareko.