the becoming

Daisy Yang

2015 - 2018

Kathmandu, Central Region, Nepal

Embedded in the hills and overlooked by the Himalayas, Kathmandu began its annual overhaul to catch up to the global definition of urbanization at the end of the monsoon season. Teenage boys, on the verge of manhood, rushed into the city from villages all over the country to assert their independence and ability as a breadwinners for their families. Many with one goal in mind, to out- compete one another in the latest fashion, hairstyle and gadgets.  

The boys arrived came by the busload; naive and aloof. In the city, manual workers are in high demand as housing and city projects mushroom overnight.

"the becoming" explores the lives of adolescent construction workers in the modernizing capital of Nepal. Their rites of passage into adulthood mirror the rapid expansion of the city that surrounds them. The many stories from the series reflects on the social construction of masculinity, a dynamic layer that is essential for a more balanced conversations on the topic of gender equality. What is the hierarchy of masculinity, how do adolescents fit within this and how do their rites of passage into this system impact wider social structures?  With the images and interviews gathered, the becoming reflects on patriarchy’s impact on young men and their formative identities. The normalized violence within the male hierarchy, subtle and often hidden, is made visible throughout the project. Young men often suffer in silence, since that is what it means to become “more masculine”, as they struggle to conform to societies’ preconceptions. As this violence fails to be recognized and rectified, it perpetuates into other aspects of the society to create a cyclical pattern of oppression and abuse.

It is also paramount that we must not overlook the strength and tenacity of these young individuals. It is important to remember that this story is not just about the corruption of youth, but also about their resilience in a challenging environment. More often than not, they are proud of their independence and ability to provide.

Through their continued search for freedom and validation, we catch a glimpse of our universal reality. Where will their transformation take them?

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