In preparation for the extended festival programme new to this year's edition of Unseen, we are pleased to continue our collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund during the opening of Return of the Soul at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery. The exhibition will take place from the 18th of September until the 6th of November 2015 and is curated by Hester Keijser.
The Prince Claus Fund was founded on the belief that “culture is a basic need”. In keeping with this vision, the Fund has done substantial work internationally in support of cultural diversity, creative expression and heritage rescue since its establishment in 1996. The exhibition at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery Return of the Soul presents five stories as told by emerging photographers from the Middle East, bringing together exceptional photographers from the Arab region who have participated in the Arab Documentary Photography Programme (ADPP) – a joint initiative of the Prince Claus Fund and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture in collaboration with Magnum Foundation. The focus of the ADPP is to support compelling non-stereotypical and unconventional visual documentation of important social issues and narratives relevant to the Arab region.
Below we introduce the artists who have been selected for the exhibition at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery this coming September.
Natalie Naccache (b. 1989, UK) is a Lebanese-British photojournalist whose work challenges preconceived ideas of the Middle East in modern-day society. Holding a BA in Photojournalism from London College of Communication and a Diploma of Art Foundation from Camberwell College of Arts, London, Naccache’s work has been published in various international publications, notably the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and Monocle. She is currently based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Reem Falaknaz (b. 1985, UAE) is a photographer, producer, and director from the United Arab Emirates. With the nature of her job allowing her to travel around the UAE, Falaknaz takes the opportunity to record and collect narratives from inhabitants of the cities that she visits. Falaknaz was a fellow with FIND, New York University Abu Dhabi in 2013 and is currently part of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship programme. She is based in Dubai.
Samar Hazboun centres her main body of work around women’s rights, with a particular focus on the Middle East. After first exploring photography whilst pursuing a degree in International Relations in Prague, she obtained her MA in Photojournalism from University of Westminster in London. Her interest in political expression through art and her personal relationship with the Palestinian cause is present in her practice, with work in over 30 solo and group exhibitions in over eight countries. She currently works as Middle East and North Africa Photo Editor for Agence France Presse (AFP), and is based in Europe and Palestine.
Omar Imam (b. 1979, Syria) is a photographer and filmmaker who uses sarcastic conceptual photography as a reaction to the violent situation in Syria. Since his departure from Damascus in 2012, Imam has been making fictional short films that tend to focus on the issue of Syrian refugees. Whilst much of his work is produced independently, Imam has also worked with various NGOs to produce films, photography projects, as well as setting up workshops for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. He is currently living and working in Beirut.
Faisal Fouzan (b. 1983, Kuwait) is a self-taught urban photographer from Kuwait, who finds inspiration from art in all its forms. He considers the camera an extension of himself with which to capture his observations and preserve them forever. His work focuses on the urban and social landscapes of Kuwait, often portraying marginalized people, architecture, urban decay, and the banal objects of everyday scenes that usually go unnoticed. In 2013 he was featured on Instagram's list of Suggested Users.
Be sure to catch Return of the Soul at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery during Unseen Festival this September!