Child rearing has traditionally been the preserve of women but a growing number of fathers in Sweden have begun to see the advantages of taking parental leave and developing close ties with their children early on. The photo exhibition Swedish Dads explores how Swedish fathers view the modern male role in contrast to the traditional, stereotype parental role. The exhibition will be showing in Bucharest at ARCUB, Lipscani street nr. 84-90, between the 12th and 29th of May.
When Swedish photographer Johan Bävman became a father, he found there was a lack of role models that men could relate to as parents. This led him to put together a photo book, Swedish Dads, which portrays men on parental leave with their children. The book in turn led to the Swedish Dads photo exhibition, based on portraits of some of the few fathers who have chosen to stay at home with their children for at least six months.
The exhibition looks at what caused these particular dads to remain at home with their children so much longer than most fathers in the world. What has it meant to them, how has it affected their relationships both with their partners and with their children, and what expectations did they have beforehand?
“By showing the everyday lives of fathers on parental leave, through pictures and interviews, I’ve focused on men who’ve chosen to put bonding with their children and families before their jobs and careers,” says Johan Bävman. “I’ve also sought to show the universally valid, loving aspect of parenthood, regardless of whether you’re a mother or father. With the aid of this project, I hope to inspire more men to begin reflecting on their roles as fathers and partners, which is an important step towards a more gender-balanced society. It’s good to see these stories going out into the world, where the Swedish perspective on gender equality is by no means self-evident.”
The Swedish Dads photo project has had a tremendous impact and has spread across the globe. It has been issued in book form by Bävman himself, with English texts.
Johan Bävman has won many awards for his pictures, including a World Press Photo prize, POY, a Sony
Award, NPPA, a UNICEF Photo Award and some leading Swedish prizes.
The exhibition portrays 25 fathers in Sweden and is showing at ARCUB, Lipscani street nr. 84- 90, between the 12th and 29th of May as a joint undertaking between the Swedish Institute, The Swedish Embassy in Bucharest, Centrul FILIA and ARCUB.
At the opening the 12th of May, at 7 pm, there will be a special event where photographer Johan Bävman and other invited guest speakers will talk about the exhibition and parental leave in connection with gender equality.
On Friday the 13th of May there will be another event at 6 pm with invited guest speakers who will discuss the topic of parental leave and gender equality.
The exhibition will be open daily between 2 pm- 8 pm, with exception for the special schedule on the 12th of May and for Night of the Museums on the 21th of May.