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Heather Glazzard, Tender & Masculine (2022)
Heather Glazzard, Tender & Masculine (2022)Courtesy of the artist and Rosa Kwir Gallery

This show interrogates the construct of masculinity

Tender & Masculine presents a range of non-heteronormative perspectives on gender

Amid insidious, polarising ideas about gender, the adjectives “masculine” and “tender” have been estranged from one another for too long. A new exhibition at Rosa Kwir gallery in Malta is attempting to reunite these two qualities and find more inclusive ways to discuss masculinity.

“All our artists identify in very different ways, and this whole show discusses masculinity from a non-heteronormative perspective,” explain Rosa Kwir founders Romeo Roxman Gatt and Charlie Cauchi, who have curated the gallery’s first international group show, Tender & Masculine. “The exciting thing for us in this selection of artworks is that we will learn about other forms of masculinities from a queer and alternative perspective. There is beautiful, thoughtful, sensitive commentary running throughout the work and each artist shows a loving, detailed approach to the subject of masculinity…. We think that the exhibition shows that masculinity can be beautiful when detached from patriarchy.”

As Malta’s first queer-focused art space on the island, Rosa Kwir is bringing vital conversations to the local community and beyond. “Living on a highly patriarchal island, we don’t tend to talk about this as much as we should, and we really want people – however they identify – to feel like they can be part of this conversation,” they explain in a conversation over email. “Women’s rights still have a long way to go. With a blanket ban on abortion, difficulty in accessing the morning-after pill, a rise in domestic and sexual abuse cases, and just good old-fashioned misogyny, we feel that this conversation is a must.”

Maltese artist Gatt emphasises the importance of initiating and facilitating conversation on the island. “Growing up I would have loved to have had an opportunity to visit an exhibition like this. Representation is important and I think art can really be inspiring or life-changing.” Having returned to Malta after living in London for 11 years, Gatt feels impassioned about platforming work by LGBTQ+ people in their birthplace. “Some of the things that I am doing here seem more relevant or more important than if I had to be doing them in London, just because they have not really existed here before and so may be more needed.”

The title was the starting point for the exhibition. Cauchi tells Dazed: “We knew we wanted to end our year-long programme with a group show. When we first opened, Romeo came up with this phrase ‘tender and masculine’ and put it on a vest. We found that people – not just those from the trans-masc community – really related to it and it initiated conversations in the space, online, even with our friends and family – with people who somehow never had the opportunity to explore this.”

Accordingly, they put out an open call on the topic and were amazed by the calibre of artists who responded. The final show features work by Amy Pennington, Carlos Maria Romero, Dagmar Bosma, El Hardwick and Orion Isaacs, Elio Mercer, Harry Hachmeister, Jasmine Johnson, June Lam, Luca Bosani, Lucinda Purkis, Remi Graves and Dazed 100 alumni Heather Glazzard. Together, their work interrogates the construct of masculinity and illustrates the numerous expressions of masculinity that co-exist within our culture. Visit the gallery above for a closer look at the artworks featured in Tender & Masculine.

Tender & Masculine is running at Rosa Kwir gallery from October 7 2022 until January 9, 2023