Judith Quax

~ visual artist


My work is driven by a fascination for the concept of identity and how identity is constantly evolving. How do people adapt to a nomadic and transnational life? How do they relate to their changing environment? How do they deal with the tension between the memory of the homeland and the reality of the new life in another country?

Since 2006, I research and photograph migration from West Africa to Europe. My book Presence in Absence, is a poetic visual essay on migration, with a text essay by curator Salah M. Hassan:

“What distinguishes Quax’s photo-based series (…) is the intimacy she brings to her representation of the condition of this “temporary permanency.” Moreover, her focus on photographing the unseen becomes a mode of work in which the visible minimalism of her images speaks volumes about the horror of the invisible. It is the kind of work where the subject’s invisibility becomes a metaphor for its presence.”


Judith Quax
Photographer & Visual Artist
Amsterdam / Dakar / New York

2005 Photo Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1998 Communications (specialization ‘culture and identity’), University of Nijmegen (NL)
1998 Cultural Sociology, University of Amsterdam (NL)

2022 Djiguene Diambaar, Dakar Biennale May 19 – 25, Dakar, Senegal
2022 Voyage à Dakar, De Balie Amsterdam, April 30
2021 TOUKI – Voyage à Dakar, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, September 24 – October 30
2021 Voyage à Dakar, Amsterdam Museum, December 11 2020 – July 25 2021
2021 Voyage à Dakar, CBK Zuidoost, April 15 – June 12 
2019 Voyage à Dakar, (solo) Regards sur Cours, Dakar, Senegal
2018 Voyage à Dakar, Photoville, New York
2017 Soil in my Pocket, (solo) installation icw Ellert Haitjema, EYE Filminstitute, Amsterdam
2016 There’s something about my family, Fotodok, Utrecht (NL)
2015 Presence in Absence, Cape Town photo biennale, South Africa
2014 Points of Departure, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, UK
2014 Presence in Absence, (solo) Dak’art biennale, Dutch Embassy, Senegal
2013 When you don’t exist, Lampedusa Filmfestival, Italy
2013 Presence in Absence, (solo) CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam
2012 Absence, Raw Material Company / Koyo Kouoh, Dakar, Senegal
2012 Fela Kuti’s legacy, LagosPhoto festival, Lagos, Nigeria
2012 Immigration Clandestine, Dak’art Biennale, French institute, Senegal
2011 Immigration Clandestine, LagosPhoto festival, Lagos, Nigeria
2011 Ndeupe, African Studies Centre, Leiden (NL)
2010 Ndeupe, Noorderlicht Photofestival, (main exhibition), Fries Museum, Leeuwarden (NL)

Publications & Nominations
2021 TOUKI – Voyage à Dakar selected for Best Dutch Book Designs 2020
2020 TOUKI – Voyage à Dakar, book publication, by Lecturis
2014 Presence in Absence, book publication, by Lecturis
2013 Presence in Absence, nomination Dutch Doc Award
2012 Absence, interview with Koyo Kouoh in Africultures Blog
2012 Felabration, GUP Magazine (NL)
2011 Clothing, in Südlink magazine (Germany)
2011 Islam in Senegal, publication by Africa Study Centre, Leiden
2010 Immigration Clandestine, in NKA Journal for Contemporary African Art #25,
by Salah M. Hassan / Okwui Enwezor (a.o.)

Grants & Projects
2020 Mondriaan Fund: book publication grant for TOUKI – Voyage à Dakar
2020 Stichting Stokroos, project grant for Voyage à Dakar
2019 Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK): artistic development grant
2018 Mondriaan Fund: project grant for Voyage à Dakar at Photoville New York
2016-2019 Mondriaan Fund: Stipendium Program for Established Artists
2016 Stichting Stokroos, project grant for Schaduwbeelden icw Ellert Haitjema
2015 Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds: project grant Voyage à Dakar
2015 Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds: project grant Schaduwbeelden
2014 Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK): artistic development grant
2014 Dutch Embassy in Dakar, Presence in Absence
2013 Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK): interventions in the public space
2013 Sem Presser Archive: interventions in the public space
2012 Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK): research and photography
2011 Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK): interventions in the public space