Judith Quax


“Utopian Archives” at Oxford University

“Utopian Archives: Excavating Pasts for Postcolonial Futures” is a project initiated by anthropologist Ferdinand de Jong and will (a.o.) result in an exhibition by Senegalese photographer Mamadou Gomis and me at Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, UK, May 12 – September 7, 2014. From October 21 – February 1 2015 the exhibition will run in the Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK.

The project pertains to the pan-African heritage of Senegal. As one of the Utopian ideologies of the twentieth century, Pan-Africanism still requires a full analysis in terms of its impact on the current outlook of postcolonial citizens. How do contemporary citizens engage with the Pan-African legacy at this moment in history in which the postcolony is said to be in serious crisis?

Raoul's room

September 10: projection on cruise ship

Past and present will be intertwined in a one time projection of two minutes on a passing cruise ship on Amsterdam’s IJ waterfront.

Together with visual artist Ellert Haitjema I will project a short film onto a passing cruise ship: archive images of migrants who left Amsterdam by the IJ water for South America hundred years ago. With this project the subject of migration is being presented in a new light.

The projection will be visible as the ship sails into view, allowing past and present to intertwine.

It can be seen from the quay in front of EYE Film Institute on Tuesday September 10 at 21:00. Sandra den Hamer, CEO EYE will welcome you and will give a brief introduction.

We did a successful try out in August:

Thanks to: Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Sem Presser Archive, EYE Film Institute, Beam Systems.

presentation at the World Social Forum in Tunis for Amnesty International

Judith Quax_WSF Tunis_06 Judith Quax_WSF Tunis_14For Amnesty International’s European campaign When you don’t exist
I have traveled to Tunisia to photograph and film stories of migration from North Africa to Europe.

The result will be presented as a multimedia installation in the public space at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 26-30, 2013. From there it will travel to different European countries. The final presentation will be at the European Union in Brussels, end 2013!

‘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?

JQ_immigrants graves_18 JQ_immigrants graves_02

Extraordinary lives in Amsterdam Zuidoost

atrium 4d






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.