I’m back home after a few wonderful days in Amsterdam, where we had the opening of the Rise of Populism in Europe exhibition in the Melkweg galerie.
The opening was lovely and apparently on the 3rd evening the exhibit received another 400 visitors again interacting with the work, looking, reading, discussing, …
On display until the 4th of May in the Melkweg galerie, Marnixstraat 409, Amsterdam (NL) open from Wednesday until Sunday from 12am to 9pm.
In the coming weeks up to the European Elections of the 25th of May, the 9 other photographers from the ROP project will share their stories on a particular facet on populism in different EU countries as well.
‘De gedachten zijn vrij. Wie raadt ze daarbinnen? Ze dansen voorbij. Als nachtelijke schimmen. Geen mens kan ze naken. Geen jager ze raken. Laat wezen wat zij. De gedachten zijn vrij. Vrij. Vrij.’
‘The thoughts are free. Who will guess them there inside? They dance on by. Like nightly phantoms. No man can touch them. No hunter hit them. Let be what may. The thoughts are free. Free. Free.’
She was one of the few remaining living survivors of the concentration camps here in Belgium. A woman of tremendous strength.
On Sunday, when she died at 93 years of age, I was on assignment for the newspaper to photograph the election congress of extreme-right party Vlaams Belang and never felt surrounded by more hate then in that room that afternoon…
Echoing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, the room shouted ‘Less, Less, Less’, meaning they want less immigrants, less Moroccans, less others in our country. The fact that an entire room filled with hundreds of people is that intolerant towards others, really scares me…
To me, it echoes sounds from the past, not even that long ago … And this is not just happening in Belgium. It’s all over Europe and beyond. A big reason why the photographers from the Rise of Populism in Europe have invested in telling our stories on this dangerous feeling sweeping through our countries.
With the last remaining survivors slowly dying and passing on, the living testimony they give disappears. Even the more reason why their interviews, photographs, recorded testimony, objects in museums should be protected well. We cannot forget!
As it so happens, last week, I finally started a project I wanted to do for a few years now. Recording the story of my neighbor Fée Gruszow-Bloch. A hidden Jewish child that survived World War II, being hidden and cast off as a non-Jewish girl. She lost 21 members of her family, including both her parents. I still can’t even begin to understand or grasp that concept. It’s beyond me…
She is one of the most incredible people I’ve come to know in recent years and it’s so wonderful to see that she remains positive and optimistic, after what she and her family have been through. A true inspiration.
As Regine Beer, Fée also goes to schools to tell young students what the war was like. What happened to her and her family. Last week I went along to one of those lectures in a school in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. Here’s a small teaser of that day, which will become part of a bigger project on Fée and her story.
Hopefully sharing her story, reminding people of our collective past, will help create more tolerance and love instead of hate.
Originally posted on Rise Of Populism:
The Rise of Populism in Europe exhibition opens its doors on April 2nd in Melkweg Gallery in Amsterdam at 5PM. More information click here.
The project is also featured in the current issue of Le Monde Diplomatique and the new French magazine The Eyes, and from next week on the projects will be broadcasted on Arte, as well.
More on that you can find at The Rise of Populism Facebook
Today is World TB day and a perfect moment to share the work I did for Doctors Without Borders again. I was fortunate enough to travel to Tajikistan with them and photograph their Children’s TB program.
The trip couldn’t have started better then with a small party in Dushanbe’s children’s hospital to celebrate Mijgona, the first fully cured MDR-TB patient (Multi Drug Resistant) since MSF started up the project there.
The long and hard process to get cured is extremely hard on the little ones. High doses of heavy medicines that have lots of side effects, make for a long road to recovery.
Take a moment if you will to sign the manifesto of Doctors without Borders, in support of DR-TB patients and medical care providers in demanding urgent changes from World Health leaders outlined in the Manifesto.
More of my images and stories from Tajikistan can be found online on my website and here on my blog.
Le Monde Diplomatique did an amazing theme issue on The new Face of Extreme Right. And even more wonderful is that the photographers from the Rise of Populism in Europe project supplied all the photography for this issue, including a few spreads with some of my images. On sale in kiosks and newsstands as we speak.
The 27th of March I’ll be exhibiting some of my work from Pakistan and the series ‘Strike a chord’ from Israel and Palestine. A different view on these places then what you might expect.
Where: One of my favorite coffee bars and best bagel eatery in town. Barnini, Oudevaartplaats 10, Antwerp
When: 27th of March, 9pm
Welcome and hope to see you there!