Visual Artist

NIEUWS

‘Presence in Absence’ opening at CBK Zuidoost Thursday March 7

uitnodiging Presence in Absence CBK ZO

“Presence in Absence” will open at CBK Zuidoost in Amsterdam, at Thursday March 7 at 5 pm. I will present the work I made in the last five years on migration from West Africa to Europe, as well as the recent work on the African diaspora in Amsterdam Zuidoost (with a grant from the Amsterdam Funds for the Art).

The exhibition runs till April 20, 2013.

“Presence in Absence” has been nominated for the Dutch Doc Award!

Judith Quax_migrants graves_01_My series on migrants graves in Senegal – part of the project “Presence in Absence” – has been nominated for the Dutch Doc Awards! For this series I have traveled along the beaches of Senegal, from Dakar up north to Saint Louis at the border with Mauritania.

In “presence in absence” I show different aspects of this universal phenomenon: empty rooms in both Senegal and Europe in which I focus on the absence of the migrants, in the intimacy and privacy of the rooms they left behind. The perspective is that of the migrants; what they leave behind them and what they recreate at destination to build a sense of attachment.

The series of washed up clothing on the beaches of Senegal shows the uncertainty of what happened to the migrants: have they drowned in the ocean or have they arrived in Europe?

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Extraordinary lives in Amsterdam Zuidoost

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The next coming months I will be working in Amsterdam Zuidoost on extraordinary lives of African migrants, living in Zuidoost. I will work in the CEC at Ganzenhoef. I will present the work I made in West Africa, as well as the work in progress on the African diaspora in Amsterdam Zuidoost.

“Absence” at RAW Material company, Dakar

ABSENCE: 3 perspectives on departure features three European artists working on issues related to migration, religion and popular culture in Senegal. While most exhibitions around migration tend to look at the trans-national political and geographical space, this exhibition focuses on intimacy and privacy. The perspectives are those of the migrants; what they leave behind them and what they recreate at destination to build a sense of attachment.

A subtext of the exhibition is the recurrent presence of the representation of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba. Founder and Supreme Leader of the Mourid Brotherhood – a sufi oriented islamic current strongly established in Senegal.

The exhibition is curated by Koyo Kouoh, and is accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Salah M. Hassan and Nick Skiadopoulos.

installation ‘immigration clandestine’ opened at Dakar Biennale

journal dak'art biennale

On the tree by the entrance of the Institute, the passer-by sees a continuous, steady stream of names of African men, moving up the trunk and branches. Around the same imposing tree, the passer-by hears the sound of the surf of the West African ocean, which gradually blends into a recording of immigrants singing, mourning the passing of one who was lost. Cause and effect follow each other in a fitting and poetic way. Both image and sound emphasise the continuity of the phenomenon that is immigration.

Around the tree there are photos Judith Quax took in West Africa of the windows in the rooms of men who had focused their gaze on Europe, form images that represent a poetic glimpse, full of expectation.

At the Dakar Biennale of 2008, Judith Quax presented work on the same theme with posters in the public space. Her work was published in the NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art, accompanied by a text of Salah M. Hassan.

The projection is in collaboration with visual artist Ellert Haitjema.

‘immigration clandestine’ at Dak’art Biennale

‘immigration clandestine’ will be presented at the Dak’art Biennale! Africa’s leading contemporary art biennale in Dakar, Senegal, opening at May 11, 2012. A multimedia installation, large photo prints and a tabloid newspaper on immigration will be exhibited at the French institute, rue Gomis, Dakar, Senegal.

Watch the video of the intervention in Amsterdam:

‘immigration clandestine’ : the other side

Since 2007 I am researching and photographing illegal immigration from West Africa to Europe. In that period large waves of immigrants risked their lives in small fishing boats, hoping to reach Europe.

I am interested how the immigrants are surviving in Europe. In Senegal the immigration phenomenon had the slogan “Barca or Barsakh” – meaning in the Wolof language “to Barcelona or to die”. I went to Spain to do research and to make some first photographs. I started in Tarifa, the most southern part of Spain and from there up North.

 

Publication in NKA Journal, text by Salah M. Hassan

Immigration Clandestine NKA Journal-1Developing a critical understanding of the wave of new migrations of African people across borders of environments and cultures, as well as modes of resistance, presents an urgent necessity. We must establish platforms for knowledge production to fill in the glaring gaps in understanding the cultural and political dynamics of a world in motion, and to focus on unearthing the root causes and consequences of new migrations in Africa and the West. Situating this phenomenon within historical, sociocultural, and artistic points of view will advance important frameworks for understanding the complexity of migratory flows of a disadvantaged population whose dreams and aspirations for a better life often get curtailed by powerful state practices.

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Each of Quax’s photographs is a stand-alone canvas, in which the artist’s command of the medium transforms the scene into a compelling work of abstraction, while avoiding an over-aestheticizing act that would have compromised the depth of the conceptual aspects of the work. The empty rooms, which have been nicely kept for the most part by the families of these young men, speak volumes of the hopes, sadness, and fear felt by these families as they ponder the destinies of their loved ones beyond the treacherous seas.

Salah M. Hassan is an art critic, curator and Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture at Cornell and Princeton University, USA. Together with Okwui Enwezor he founded NKA Journal.

working on the book on Pamiri traditions & culture

With Frederik van Oudenhoven (writer and initiator) and René Put (design) I am working on a book on Pamiri traditions and culture. We are doing the photo edit and this photo of a Kuchi boy near Lake Sheva in Afghanistan will definitely be in. Kuchis (from the Persian word Koch meaning “migration”), are Afghan Pashtun nomads, that live a nomadic life travelling between pastoral lands in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.