Grigri Y El Macho Fantastico #1

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

Grigri Y El Macho Fantastico – Gregory Frateur – Leave us at Dawn -De Studio

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Schermafbeelding 2015-02-07 om 00.25.36

3 more followers to go before my twitter account hits a 1000 followers. Who will it be? You? :)

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Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

News just got announced that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will become the new artistic director of the Ballet of Flanders.
What great news, as he is one of the most talented people around in the dance world.

My neighbor, Jeanne Brabants, who sadly died last year, was the founder of this company and put Ballet on the map in Belgium. As an natural born educator, she founded the Ballet Instituut and has professionalized this art form in my country.

I was lucky enough to spend a few hours watching Sidi Larbi work with his dancers while creating their piece PUZ/ZLE for the festival D’Avignon in 2012.
Seeing how somebody works with his company, tells a lot about a choreographer and this is a man with vision that knows where he’s going. I can’t wait to see where he will be going with the Ballet of Flanders.

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

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‘Us & Them’ – Wendy Marijnissen

Originally posted on The Rise of Populism:

Us & Them’ – WENDY MARIJNISSEN. BELGIUM.

In many ways Belgium is a divided country, with various communities at odds with one another. Flemish versus Walloon, right versus left, native inhabitants versus foreigners, us versus them. Here, the veil has become a very loaded and contested symbol. A religious as well as a political emblem. A sign of both empowerment as well as victimization.

Since 2009, community schools all over the country banned all religious symbols on their premises, including the Islamic headscarf. Since 2011, Belgium even has a burqa ban.

It’s estimated that only 50 women in Belgium wear this type of garment, out of a Muslim population of over half a million. So why do we need such drastic measures?Why do we end up stigmatizing Islamic veiling? What gives this piece of cloth such negative meaning?

Former socialist Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens went a step further and made a law banning any religious symbols…

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Diversity is a reality

Three years ago, while working on Us/Them, my project on Muslim women and the veil in Belgium, I took this picture below of the election campaign of extreme-right political party Vlaams Belang.
(It still creeps me out that this type of advertisement polarizing and stigmatizing is possible at all.)

© Wendy Marijnissen - Extreme right political party Vlaams Belang started their campaign for the local elections with a poster of a woman in bikini wearing a burqa. The slogan read 'Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose', presenting Islam as the biggest threat to Flemish society. Aartselaar, Belgium, 2012

Extreme right political party Vlaams Belang started their campaign for the local elections with a poster of a woman in bikini wearing a burqa. The slogan read ‘Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose’, presenting Islam as the biggest threat to Flemish society. Aartselaar, Belgium, 2012  © Wendy Marijnissen

Today, I’m reminded once more of how relevant my project US/Them is…

I’m reading an article in the newspaper about how aggression against Muslims is on the rise after the sparked fear following the killings in the offices of Charlie Hebdou in Paris, the incident in Verviers and the Belgian army guarding ‘strategic places’ in the streets of my city Antwerp.

Muslim people are being harassed for being Muslim. They get remarks or are called terrorists because they wear a headscarf or jellaba…

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

In this climate of fear and hate, an anti-Muslim movement Pegida Vlaanderen has arisen and is trying it’s best to create even more fear and distance between people.

Yet they seem to forget that diversity is already and always will be a reality and something everyone needs to accept. Instead of polarizing somebody because they wear different clothes or have different religious believes, we should put more effort into ways of learning from each other and making sure everyone has chances to participate and feel included in our society.

It shouldn’t be ‘Us versus Them, but ‘together’. WE all are ONE

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

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Backstage with Skagen

MozaiekSkagen

© Wendy Marijnissen

Last week I had so much fun working with the people of SKaGeN, an Antwerp based theatre collective, who are not afraid of experimenting with and/or trying to create different forms of experiencing theatre.

I photographed their play ‘Deur Deur Deur’, a re-staging of the play that they performed 7 years ago. Here are some images I took backstage before and after that performance.

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