Sisters Exhibit Opens in Prague
Award-Winning Photojournalist Jana Asenbrennerova Puts The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence On Display In Prague
by Heather Cassell
The exhibit explores the order of men extravagantly dressed as nuns in habits, known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, raising money for community organizations and educating people about issues, such as HIV/AIDS.
Up to 24 photos of the legendary Sisters will be on display on two floors that will show each view of the sisters shot in two distinct styles. The first part of the series is a collection of portraits created out of Triptychs from the Sister’s annual Nunway shows and the second part is a series of more journalistic style shots of the Sisters doing their work around San Francisco, says Jana.
The photo exhibit, which opened during Prague Pride, is on display for the public to freely explore at Pride House: Langhans – Centrum Člověka v tísni (Vodickova 37, Praha 1, +420 226 200 400, firstname.lastname@example.org, clovekvtisni.cz/en/langhans) until August 31.
Two of the original sisters from San Francisco, Sisters Vicious Power Hungry Bitch and Roma, were on hand this evening informally talking about the order, their work, and the creation of their decorative costumes and cheeky names with guests, says Jana, who was also present at the opening.
“The Sisters are there for their community, so it is important that the community understands who they are,” says Jana, who hopes the audience will learn more about the Sister and their mission of “who they are, why they exist, why they dress and makeup the way they do, and who and why [they] started the idea.”
“There are some powerful stories at the birth of the sisters, which I believe St. Vicious will share at Pride Voices in detail,” says Jana, 35, who was born and raise in the Czech Republic but is now based in San Francisco.
Pride Voices is at 7 – 9 p.m. on August 10 at the French Institute (Štěpánská 35, Praha 1, ifp.cz).
Jana began taking photos of the Sisters after seeing them around San Francisco years ago.
“One day I went out and took some photos of them. I loved their energy and found their desire to help others quite inspiring,” says Jana, over time she became more “interested and curious to explore who they are as people not just Sisters.”
“There are some inspiriting and brave individuals among them, strong personalities, and folks that know how to have a good time,” she continues. Their courage to help others while often struggling with their own challenges is inspiring.”
She was also impressed by the way the Sisters raise money to help the local community.
“Their ‘art’ of raising money is impressive. They are masters of that and they do it with great amount of fun and passion,” she says.
Jana hopes that the visiting San Francisco Sisters and the exhibit will help spread the word about the Sisters. She hopes the local small order of Prague Sisters, which has recently started, will be inspired and that the local community will learn more about whom the Sisters are and the spirit of joy that they bring to the local community.
She hopes “more folks in Czech [will] understand who those Sisters are and give them a shout out when seen around town manifested,” she says.
Jana plans to photograph the Sisters while she shows them around Prague together, she says.
This is the second year that Jana has had an exhibit open during Prague Pride. Last year, her 2015 World Press Photo award-winning exhibit, Living Unnoticed, that explored gay men living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was displayed.
Jana has also lived in Asia and Africa and typically covers humanitarian efforts and minority communities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, women, and religious.
She also writes about her experiences and photography on her blog.
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