ARC Amsterdam Lowlanders, the only LGBTQIA rugby team in The Netherlands, is taking the “naked calendar” route to raise funds; though its naked calendar for 2020 has a particular – and somewhat necessary – spin: embracing diversity in a world dominated by stereotypes.
Though the goal, really, is to raise funds for the team to be able to participate in the biennial inclusive world rugby cup, the Bingham Cup, which will be organized in 2020 in Ottawa, Canada, the Lowlanders calendar also references the inclusiveness of sport, particularly the rugby culture, where there ought to be room for everyone without pursuing a body idealized by today’s society.
Photographer and player Henri Verhoef had his teammates posed at the Allard Pierson Museum: “There is no sport as inclusive as rugby. Large, small, muscular, thick, juicy, long, thin: it is a sport where there is literally room for everyone. In this calendar we show that there is no real ideal image. The players are photographed as sculptures that show that there can be strength in vulnerability and cohesion in diversity.”
When thinking about the male nude in relation to sports, viewers can’t really get around one of the most famous Greek sculptures ever made – the Discobolus of Myron. The sculpture, depicting a young man throwing a discus, dates from a time where mostly athletes, gods, and heroes were used as subjects in art, always with ‘ideal’ bodies and proportions.
In this year’s edition, players of the Amsterdam Lowlanders pose together with statues at the Allard Pierson museum. Combining the old with the new, the photos create new images showing that there is no one true ideal; with the body serving as sculptures that show that there can be strength in fragility and cohesion in diversion. In the end, this showcases that that opposites can stand next to each other, on one pitch, as one team.
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