Artist Lecture January 24 – 25, Women in Focus: Documentary and Citizenship Conference sponsored by the University of South Wales, Cardiff, The National Museum of Wales and the European Centre for Documentary Research. Many thanks to photographer and educator Lisa Barnard for the invitation.
Exhibition February 1, 2019 – Walled off: The Politics of Containment, Founders Gallery at the Military Museums in Calgary, Canada. The NOOR Za’atari project, which I produced with NOOR photographers Stanley Greene, Andrea Bruce and Alixandra Fazzina, is on display through May 20, 2019. Many thanks to Curator and Professor Dona Schwartz for including the work.
NOOR’s Za’atari project will be shown at the Hamburg Triennale of Photography opening June 19 through June 28, 2015. Thank you to Sam Barzilay of United Photo Industries for taking the project on the road.
Photo ©Nina Berman 2014
I will be presenting “Inside These Walls” a discussion of the NOOR Za’atari project at Temple University’s Futures of Visual Anthropology Conference 2015. The theme this year is “Making Space”.
April 9, 2015 Temple University
Ritter Hall Walk Auditorium 4:15 – 5:15pm Philadelphia, PA
Inside These Walls: Picturing refugees: the Za’atari photographic installation and portrait project
Produced in 2014, the Za’atari project transformed a highly charged political space, the 120 meter concrete barbed wire security wall at the entrance to Jordan’s Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees into a massive photographic mural depicting these refugees on a monumental scale. The mural at the world’s second largest refugee camp was visible to both the subjects of the photographs and to the visitors, stakeholders and diplomats who decide their fate.
The project borrowed some of the visual language of photojournalism however by choice and political necessity, the process required explicit consent and collaboration. The security wall is a highly contested space with multiple parties claiming ownership. There was a real possibility of violence. Consent and respect for cultural and religious norms of representation was a primary consideration. The images also had to strike a particular truth: they had to negotiate the space between the grim reality of the camp and the projects’ s intent to use art as a form of inspiration and empowerment.
In addition to the wall mural, the photographers constructed a photo studio with a black backdrop and invited refugees to have their portraits made alone or with someone or something they loved. Providing this neutral space as opposed to photographing them against the background of the camp removed the stigma and narrative of refugee status from the portraits. The subjects chose how to pose and what expressions to offer; the photographers were at their service. Around 500 portrait prints were made on the scene and given to the subjects. The booth operated as a unique space in the camp where refugees had agency.
The presentation will explore this project in detail in the context of using photography as an affirming medium in spaces of disenfranchisement and psychological and social trauma.
Friday July 6 Arles, France
NOOR will present projections of my work “Fractured:the shale play” along with work from colleagues Alixandra Fazzina, showing “Flowers of Afghanistan” and Jon Lowenstein’s “Female Chain Gang.”
©Nina Berman 2011, All RIghts Reserved
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is an ongoing demonstration in Lower Manhattan — a bold and audacious act to create meaningful public dialogue about economic inequality and human rights in the USA and beyond. It began September 17 when a group of young people set up camp in a small city park, normally home to construction workers on lunch break from the former World Trade Center construction site. In 21 days it has grown fantastically, and virally, spanning similar movements in the USA and beyond. Their occupation is a symbolic act, yet their demands are quite specific. Entering Zuccotti Park, where they are encamped, is a beautiful experience. People are kind, they are talking as opposed to texting, they are reading, drawing, sharing stories, listening, being human. Food is free. Help is offered. People are taking care of each other. Where in all of this is the enemy? Egyptians had Mubarek, the New York demonstrators have….. Wall Street. As Mayor Bloomberg correctly said (and he should know) Wall Street is no longer on Wall Street. The money makers and masters of the universe are spread out, holed up in their trading bunkers and investment banks all over town. Wall Street is more of a theme park now, a place for tourists to snap pictures of the gated NYSE, or a community of high priced condos where people see the demonstrators as a public nuisance. See NY Times story. here My own visual prejudices have been challenged photographing OWS. I am used to seeing the man in the suit as a symbol of the elite class, and then I saw men in suits marching with the demonstrators. I am used to thinking that when people take off their clothes and shout greed is bad, to not take them too seriously, and then Michael Shaw at Bagnewsnotes opened my eyes to my own picture. Personally, it’s been inspiring to see this energy and creativity, especially in New York, which hasn’t felt this free in decades. Here are a few images from some evening visits. For a complete set, visit NOOR . All photos ©Nina Berman 2011, All Rights Reserved
Consequences by NOOR, a group show is up at the Dask Gallery in Copenhagen through January 12, 2010. I am exhibiting 3 images including the one below.