What exactly is masculinity? What are men afraid of today and what bothers them? Because gender equality and justice are not just about women, the new issue of Héroïne has been devoted to “men’s issues”. And along with them, a man also appears on the cover. Lukáš Houdek is an activist, an artist, a documentary filmmaker and also a man who, with everything he does, sets the bar of humanity, sensitivity and sincerity very high for all of us.
When his stomach heaved while staring at his computer last January, he already knew he had to slow down. Documentary filmmaker, artist, humanitarian and romist Lukáš Houdek is probably most characterized by his committed approach to life and the permeable boundary between private and public. He immediately went public with the news that he was one step away from burnout to warn others who might find themselves in a similar situation. He simply – he did it again – made sensitive content public that we don’t talk about.
When given the task of writing an article about Roma in high school, he was terrified. He had no idea how his adolescence and later education would shape his relationship with this minority.
“I have the privilege of being able to communicate, so that we can recover as a company”, he explained at the start of the year in the Pochlap podcast, why he hesitates to turn off his phone. Since the eighth grade, he has led the government campaign HateFree Culture, which convinces Czech society that living in hatred is irrational and irrational. But before that, he savored his strong emotion. When he was sexually abused by an older teenager at the age of six, he felt it first and foremost. In the middle of his native Stříbro, it took a lot of courage to come out, especially for a member of the “strange” children’s club, of which he naturally belonged in primary school.
Which envelope with Lukáš Houdek do you like the most?
Sherpa, crown or avowed fragility? We were so excited about Eliška Sky’s photos that we made three versions of them. Which of Lukáš Houdek’s photographs would you choose for the cover of the new Heroine? The new heroine will be released on April 7.
Photo: Eliška Sky, aartistic director: Marek Cpin, makeup, hair: Natálie Host, styling: Jan Pokorný, pProducer: Linda Majerova
Only local Roma stood in the hierarchy of the small town, and when he was supposed to write a report about them in high school, he was terrified. He had no idea how his adolescence and later education would shape his relationship with this minority. Through his homework, he discovered that he had friendly neighbors with a very interesting culture and his own language. Through his own efforts, he began to discover the world and work as a volunteer with an international non-profit organization. At sixteen, he went to France, later to Turkey, Moldova or Slovenia, where he often helped the Roma and also began to photograph them. He was fascinated by Romani culture and after graduating he logically went to study Romani in Prague. After graduating, he participated in the creation of the KHER publishing house, which publishes Romani literature.
At first his photographs were clearly documentary, and the Romani theme gradually broadened to include other human rights themes. He traced the aftermath of the genocide after the Kenyan presidential election or the dying tribes, but he felt he wanted to work more with photography as an artistic discipline. And again, the trauma moved him. Unprocessed childhood sexual abuse and rape by an older man in adulthood became the inspiration for his early art projects with ironic titles such as The Life of Dreams (2010), All My Mother’s Panties ( 2011) or Anniversary (2010).
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What do men want to see in the mirror? What are they willing to do to get the look they want? What pressure do they face and what remarks about their body hurt them? Lukáš Houdek shot the Hrana podcast about it. Accepting one’s own body is also a personal subject for oneself.
Men work out their bodies way more than you think
Questions about his own otherness and that of others, which often provoke the environment to the violence of prejudice, are always at the center of his work. Although Houdek has no formal artistic training, his works have been exhibited in national and foreign galleries and are now part of the Central European art collections of the MOCAK in Krakow or the German Historical Museum in Berlin.
When he is involved in a subject, he photographs it, records it, writes about it and talks about it naturally. All the time – as her closest friends and social media watchers would say. He was moved by the plight of the albinos he met in Ghana and decided to draw attention to their lives of social exclusion, which often ended in untimely death. His audio documentary White Wears Death was so compelling that Czech scientists helped develop a sunscreen that would protect albinos from skin diseases, and it was simple enough for them to make it themselves. They succeeded and in the crowdfunding campaign to start production, they exceeded the required amount almost twice.
His professional interests usually develop organically in his personal life and with themes, and especially their actors keep in touch for years. The South African farmers, whose stark testimonies he composed in the award-winning audio documentary The Funerals of Apartheid, became his friends.
This almost happened with the authors of the hateful comments, whom he invited for coffee to learn about their background and their motivations. The analysis of hate has become his life’s mission and his defensive shield, probably because of this he can repeat in interviews with journalists that he really never felt it for anyone.
Read more about Lukáš Houdek and the forms and limits of masculinity in the new issue of Heroine magazine, published on April 7.
See how April Heroine’s cover was photographed
Stylist Jan Pokorný chose bold outfits for Lukáš Houdek. Photographer Eliška Sky is satisfied.
Lukáš Houdek with photographer Eliška Sky.
Lukáš wears a Moschino suit – Zalando.cz.
GCDS tracksuit jacket and pants – Zalando.cz, Balenciaga shoes. Lukáš Houdek wrote a personal text about how he felt during the photoshoot and the trauma it caused him, which you can read in the new issue of Heroine.