the heroes of mountain of love

Shirin Fathi

By combining portraiture and elements of Japanese woodblock prints this work experiments with gender performance within the traditions of Kabuki theatre. From its earliest years, Kabuki had featured women dressed as men and men dressed as women. After women were banned from the stage in 1629, men have had to play both male and female roles. This tradition still keeps. The male impersonator does not try to mimic a real woman; rather, he becomes an idealized and artificial symbol of femininity from a mans point of view. Furthermore, Kabuki is often carried out by a single actor. In some instances, he transforms into ten different characters. In this series I play the role of both men and women as I transform myself into five different characters of a single story during one performance. The story is based on the novel, five women who loved love, mountain of love by Ihara Saikaku (93- 1642), which narrates a cross-dressing tale about a woman.