The exhibition – #MYOWNGENDER

Photographer Sevilay Maria explores all the shades of gender

Man or woman? Easy question, isn’t it? Well… Not for everyone. #MYOWNGENDER explores all the nuances existing between male and female by retelling the stories of those who defy society’s gender spectrum with every form they fill out and every bathroom visit. A project that, for Sevilay Maria, isn’t actually about gender. ‘It is a project about gender, but at the same time, it’s not. For me, it’s about humans. ‘Cause in the end, whatever our label might be, despite all our differences, that’s what we all are. Human.’

The past three years, Sevilay Maria has captured the extensive grey zone that exists within gender in her work as a photographer. #MYOWNGENDER is the final chapter of this arch.

The main element of #MYOWNGENDER is a travelling art installation fusing photography with audio, video, and written word. Thirty-five models that represent their shade of gender are captured on either black or transparent glass through a photography technique from the 1850s, collodion wet plating, and share their story in a short interview. No matter what their pronoun may be. No matter old or young. No matter background or religion. All become an element within a steel construction.

In this construction, Sevilay Maria mirrors the strength of vulnerability which she found to be present in all of her models. The strength of rewriting society by showing their true self. In #MYOWNGENDER, fragile sheets of glass meet 2,5-meter-high walls made of imperfect steel. From there on, layers build upon layers. The still images – portraying the models somewhat heroically – upon the movies – observing intimate fragments of life in atmospheric scenes – upon the audio – a direct conversation with the portrayed. As #MYOWNGENDER evolved from a singular art installation into a multi-media story, 25 artists in different fields of work joined Sevilay Maria to complete the project.

The prints that are shown in De Hallen are a selection of the original portraits exhibited in the OBA near Amsterdam Central Station.

Besides this travelling art installation, #MYOWNGENDER will share the stories of those who find themselves blurring the binary male or female spectrum with a book, multiple documentaries, an online platform, a podcast, and an educational programme

The exhibition #MYOWNGENDER can be admired in the Passage of De Hallen until the end of August.
The installation can be seen until September 20th at OBA Oosterdok. For more information, visit

Sevilay Maria (1984) discusses the themes of our modern days through a photography technique from 1851. Within this duality, she looks further than the obvious, observing social issues rather than submerging with the subject. Sevilay Maria challenges herself to see beyond the distraction of the conspicuous to capture a unique self. As a photographer she embodies a similar paradox as her work, uniting the artistic creative with a boldly disciplined chemist. The storms of her past granted Sevilay Maria an inexhaustible drive and an affection for the challenging way out. And so, while she’s an experienced digital photographer as well, it was the complexity of collodion wet plating that has drawn her towards this specific photography technique that relies on meticulous execution of the chemical process involved.

De Passage

  • Monday 07:00 — 23:00
  • Tuesday 07:00 — 23:00
  • Wednesday 07:00 — 23:00
  • Thursday 07:00 — 23:00
  • Friday 07:00 — 03:00
  • Saturday 07:00 — 03:00
  • Sunday 07:00 — 03:00