Fotografie di Aleksandar Crnogorac
Belgrade Drag is a photo documentary project was created over the last 4 years and finally presented to the public at the annual Merlnika Film festival in Belgrade in December 2021.
The purpose of this project is to communicate and shed light on the struggles the local Serbian youth is facing when it comes to tolerance and freedoms many of their European counterparts take for granted.
Serbia is still finding its way when it comes to adopting and promoting European values which guarantee freedom and protection to its LGBT minority and this work illustrates this struggle by focusing on this small but vibrant segment of the wider LGBT community, the drag performers.
Over the last few decades, the drag movement has gained a high level of visibility in the western world yet in Serbia it is only in its infancy. Although drag culture has existed in some form for hundreds of years, from ancient Greece to Shakespeare, to baroque operas, in the last fifty years it has experienced somewhat of a renaissance at a global level, and has become part of popular culture, the situation in Serbia is somewhat different and it can be said that the local drag scene in our area only started to emerge at the beginning of the 21st century. The concept of the drag community as a more serious movement in the form of Belgrade’s drag scene only began to form in the second decade of this century. These photographs pay testimony to that period.
The Belgrade Drag project is a depiction of this struggle through a series of portraits of the members of the drag community as well as being an homage to their perseverance and quest for freedom.
My first contact with the local drag scene was in 2017 when I met the team of young people behind the KayGie parties. Soon afterwards I started to regularly attend these gatherings once a month in KC grad and to photograph the participants. What fascinated me then as well as now is the fact that these young people effectively managed to create the local drag scene in the capital of Serbia without any help or support. Their creativity, perseverance and courage are immortalized by this series of portraits that record if not the birth, then certainly the early development of the drag scene in Belgrade.
These young people are not only pioneers, they are freedom fighters whose goal is to make Serbia a more tolerant country which excepts diversity and allows everyone to be who they truly are.