Tag Archives: Exhibition

We together


I’ve just returned from a wonderful visit to Graz, Austria, where I attended the opening of the group exhibition ‘We Together’, curated by Maryam Mohammadi.

“We together” brings together female artists with backgrounds in the Middle East, as well as in Europe and the USA. They have in common that they are critical in their photography and video work with female identities and everyday environments, personal situations, dependencies, gender roles and the political changes in a regional as well as global context. 14 different views on women by women.

My work from ‘Hamida’s camp pregnancy‘ was included among the work by fantastic artists like Boushra Almutawakel, Raeda Saadeh, Sonja Hamid and Emine Gozde Sevim to name just a few.



Raeda Saadeh danced during an intense and haunting performance at the vernissage, visited by a big crowd. Meeting her, getting to know her work, spending some days with both her and Maryam has been heartwarming. Raeda’s vision as an artist, Maryam’s drive and passion to show the world a different view and get people together and connected is incredibly inspiring. Do take a moment to get to know their work.

Until the 18th of December on view in Schaumbad – Freies Atelierhaus, Graz

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KAOS postcard auction

Schermafbeelding 2015-09-10 om 14.53.59

Last year, I was a part of the wonderful exhibition ‘Return to sender’ at Wiels, organized by KAOS.

101 well-known and lesser known artists sent an original postcard of their own making to KAOS, a Brussels-based non-profit organization aiming to break down the barriers between insiders andoutsiders in art and psychiatry. These unique postcards were shown last year in WIELS and will be auctioned to support the artist residency in psychiatry, that KAOS will organize this autumn for the first time in Belgium.

Now it’s time to auction off all our postcards.

The auction will take place in the beautiful Rotonde Bertouille in Bozar/Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels and will be led by Marianne Hoet on behalf of Christie’s. The works will soon be accessible via the KAOS website and you can see them on Saturday, October 3rd (10:00-18:00) and Sunday, October 4th (10:00-15:00) at Bozar.

Would you like to participate? Then register HERE.

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Zuidpool @ TAZ

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

Tomorrow ‘Theater aan Zee’ will open in Oostende and this year it’s curated by Theater Zuidpool.

As one of their house photographers, a few of my images will be exhibited along with those of my colleagues at kaffiebar bij Familie Jansen.

Besides that, painter Stijn Dierckx will create a live painting during the festival based on his ideas and my photographs. A must see as this is a unique moment to watch a new painting unfold in front of your eyes.

See you in Oostende this weekend!

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Butterfly palace

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

Yesterday the group exhibition ‘Recht en Architectuur’ (Law and Architecture) by 11 press photographers from VVJ Antwerpen opened in the Justice Department also known as the Butterfly palace here in Antwerp. They are up until the 27th of February during opening hours. Bolivarplaats, Antwerpen.

I chose to submit my work on Women in Afghanistan as I felt fighting for women’s rights and fighting against injustice there was fitting for the theme.  Yesterday again showed how important it is to continue telling the world about their situation as a new law is about to be passed which will strip women of rights even further. President Karzai is about to sign a law, already passed by parliament,  that would prohibit the questioning of relatives of an accused perpetrator of a crime, effectively eliminating victim testimony in cases like domestic violence.

The statistics really are mind boggling…

Global Rights found that 87% of Afghan women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime; 62% experience multiple forms of violence, including forced marriage and sexual violence. Most of this violence happens within the family, so you can just start to image what this law would mean…

'My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old'. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012. © Wendy Marijnissen

‘My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old’. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012.
© Wendy Marijnissen

Girls like Rehan (not her real name) who I met in a shelter of Women for Afghan Women will be robbed of justice and won’t get any opportunity to testify against their perpetrators. In a country like Afghanistan it already takes a huge amount of power and courage to take the decision to leave everyone and everything behind to get to safety. It’s a huge deal to decide to take action against domestic abuse and rape.

As prosecutions would be nearly impossible it’s very likely that women will stop coming forward. In a time when slowly slowly they are getting educated and becoming aware of their rights, the passing of this law would mean an enormous step back for women and women’s rights. I can only imagine the situation worsening once the International forces will leave…

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VVJ Antwerpen Group exhibition

From the 7th until the 27th of February, my work will be exhibited in a group exhibition by the VVJ Antwerpen in the new Department of Justice building here in Antwerp.  Together with photographers like Dries Luyten, Sarah van den Elsken, Kris van Exel, Walter Saenen and more.

It’s the first of hopefully many initiatives that the VVJ Antwerpen takes to put press photography in the picture as well.

You can visit the exhibition in the main hall during opening hours of the Justice Departement. And you’re very welcome to come to the opening reception on the 6th of February at 7pm, to join me and my colleagues there. Register here so they have an idea of how many people will be coming. Thank you and hope to see you there!


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Révin visite

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen


This week I had the pleasure to visit Révin to represent the ‘The Rise of Populism in Europe’ project at the ‘Rencontres de l’Interculturel’ in the Centre Social in Révin.

A small town in the French Ardennes, close to the Belgian border, where life has become quite hard and unemployment very high because of the industrial decline and economic crisis with many factories closing.

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen


With a big muslim population that arrived in the 60’s and 70’s during an immigration wave at an economic high for the region, the Centre Social that is hosting the first poster exhibition of The Rise of Populism, was also interested in my work on Muslim Women in Belgium.  Around 40 people, mainly Muslim women, came to my presentation with an animated conversation as a result afterwords while we were enjoying sugar cake and coffee.

The situation for Muslim women in France is the same as that of Belgian women. People seem to fear the Muslim community and with the veil as a symbol, look upon the veiled women in a suspicious way. The women became really passionate in trying to explain to me that they are just the same as any other women. That they might wear different clothing but that they are just as anybody else.  They also really emphasized on the fact that Islam is many things and that there is a big difference between religion and tradition. The burqa has nothing to do with religion, but is all about tradition. Some girls became so passionate in explaining this and making their point that I had to reassure them that I knew this, and that this was one of the reasons why I initiated this project in the first place. It was just really wonderful to interact with these women.

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

The day after, an article was written in the local newspaper L’Ardennais with whom I had an interview. Even though written with a few mistakes, the context and point was clear. We are all the same and Muslim women, veiled or not, are also mothers, sisters, friends, … we all share the same values and want the same things out of life.  In a time of globalization where people fear of loosing their identity and economic hard times, fear has taken an important place in populist political rhetoric. Yet instead of focusing on what is different all the time, we might better start looking at what we share and have in common.


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Révin (Fr) debate on Populism

flyer débat ROP


I’m honored to represent the wonderful group of photographers in Révin, where our work on the ‘Rise of Populism in Europe’ will be shown. You are very welcome to join me this coming 19th of November for an additional presentation of the work and a debate on this Rise of Populism in Europe which we all documented.

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I’ve just returned back home from a couple of wonderful and inspirational days in Amsterdam and Utrecht where I was part of a workshop related to the ‘The Rise of Populism in Europe’ exhibition.

Together with photographers Jan-Joseph Stok, Dirk-Jan Visser, Rami HanafiEd Thompson, Nico Baumgarten and Frank and Tinka Dietz, we brainstormed with students on how to tackle abstract themes like Populism in stories and what challenges we all faced in making our individual projects. It was a wonderful and an enlightening day.

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

The exhibition opened on the 1st of September and the response so far has been wonderful. Newspapers like NRC, NRC Next, and Trouw have written about the project. Belgian magazine Rekto Verso sent a journalist who wrote an excellent article and who really grasped what we try to do with the exhibition. Michiel Leen, the journalist who wrote the article, told me he is working on an English translation. As soon as I have it, I’ll post it on the blog so English speaking people can read it too.

Sadly during the evening of the workshop day, an unknown individual attacked and destroyed my image on the advertising cube of the exhibition standing in the city center of Utrecht.

© Fotodok / Tom Janssen

© Fotodok / Tom Janssen

I was a bit shocked after hearing about the vandalization of my image… What must a person feel, think or have been through already to become so violent and aggressive towards an image and literally destroy it.

I understand a image of a woman in a burka and bikini with the slogan ‘Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose’ is horrible to see in our public sphere… I felt the exact same thing when I saw the original election poster of Belgian extreme-right party Vlaams Belang in real life last year during the local elections.  After more then 20 years of this type of campaigning in Belgium by this particular party, somehow nothing happened with this poster and people accept it in their streets. That alone of course says a lot about the changes in society today.  Whereas countries like for instance Finland are still dealing with the first waves of this type of political extremism, Belgium has gotten used to it already and people hardly react anymore.  20 years ago already 1/3 of our population voted for Vlaams Belang but when asked, nobody dared to admit they had. That too changed over the years and now people are shamelessly ok admitting they hold racist views…

At the same time I think the attack on the exhibition cube shows just how relevant our project is and how important it is to keep telling stories like ours and let people think, discuss and interact on our work and thus our society. Hopefully next time though not in a literal physical way…

You can still visit the exhibition until the 21st of September in het Zijdebalen theater in Utrecht.

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The Rise of Populism in Europe – exhibition

© Wendy Marijnissen

So here is exhibition number 3 of this year that I’m participating in and it’s one I’m especially proud of.

‘The Rise of Populism in Europe’ is an amazing group project initiated by Jan-Joseph Stok and Dirk- Jan Visser, 2 Dutch photographers that became rather concerned with the social and political developments in the Netherlands and who saw that this was not just happening in Holland but all over Europe. Together with photographers like Andrea Gjestvang, Ed ThompsonMaria Turchenkova and myself, they started documenting how populism manifests itself and brought together our work in this long-term project.

The extreme-right English Defence League; the influence of social media in Germany; unrest in Hungary; the impact of the Greek crisis and extreme right shifts in this country; human rights violations in Russia; the legacy of a Norwegian lone wolf; the influence of the Front National on French society; the face of the Italian electorate, and my take on the Belgian burka ban. Each photographer approaching the populist developments in their country from a different angle.

Together, we hope these ongoing stories present a picture of the contemporary political and social landscape in Europe. Yet, at the same time, they will show the complexity and the many faces of an abstract concept like populism. In a masterclass on the 11th of september the photographers will work with students on how to document and picture abstract themes like populism.


Then on the 12th of September, myself and the other photographers will be participating in a debate ‘Beyond Populism’. Together with political scientist Matthijs Rooduijn (UvA), Vincent Oldenborg (Leefbaar Utrecht) and journalist Yvonne Zonderop we’ll be talking about the project, the future developments of populism in Europe and how we as image makers play a role in documenting/picturing subjects like populism.

The exhibition is curated and presented by Fotodok in collaboration with Vrede van Utrecht and to tickle your interest a bit further I hope you’ll check out the trailer that Fotodok made for the project.


Exhibition ‘The Rise of Populism in Europe‘: 1/21 september 2013, thursday – sunday 11am-6pm, Zijdebalen Theater – Zeedijk 6 – Utrecht (NL), entree fee 7,5€

Debate ‘Beyond Populism’: 12th of september, 8pm, Zijdebalen Theater – Zeedijk 6 – Utrecht (NL), entree fee 7,5€

Hope to see you in Utrecht soon!

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