In Belief, On the Move, FOTODOK examines the changing role that faith, in its many forms, plays in our daily lives and the world around us. Images by a set of acclaimed documentary photographers illustrate this changing landscape.
The exhibition features work by: Martin Parr (UK), Henk Wildschut (NL), Nicoló Degiorgis (IT), Geert Gioris (BE), Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen & Tobias Selnæs Markussen (DK), Samuel Otte (NL), Liz Hingley (UK), Hokjesman (NL) and Emile van Rouveroy (NL).
Central to the exhibition is the movement of faith—literally, in regards to migration and physical movement, but also the shifts taking place within a personal search for meaning, whether or not that search involves religion. The current global political climate is leading to an unprecedented geographic spread of various religious beliefs. These beliefs can be a force for social cohesion, but they can also be the cause of violent conflict when different—often opposing—sets of norms and values clash. At the same time, many people are looking for meaning without religion.
The exhibition raises some fundamental questions: What does faith mean to you, to your (new) neighbors and to our society? In the present day, do we embrace faith or reject it?
For Belief, On the Move, FOTODOK selected work that focuses mainly on the experience of faith during migration. What role does faith play at the moment you leave home? New work by Henk Wildschut shows the sprawling refugee camp known as the Calais “Jungle.” Wildschut has spent years documenting life and survival in the camp—one striking observation is how many migrants, after finding a place to sleep, quickly erect a makeshift church or mosque.
How do different religions coexist? “Under Gods,” by photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley (UK), investigates the growth of urban multi-faith communities. She photographed a street in Birmingham where Pentecostals, Sikhs, Rastafarians, Hare Krishnas and Buddhists live side by side. The series will be displayed on Domplein [a square in Utrecht]. Photographer Martin Parr (UK, Magnum Photos) spent four years on a series depicting the different religious groups in the Black Country, an area west of Birmingham.
Nicoló Degiorgis (IT) presents new and existing work from his multi-award-winning project “Hidden Islam.” Degiorgis looked at how and where Muslims practice their religion in Italy, a country that is home to about 1.35 million Muslims but has fewer than ten government-approved mosques. As a consequence, Muslims have been forced to improvise: they transform parking lots, gyms, shops and warehouses into places of worship.
Dutch photographer Samuel Otte graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in 2016 with “De Val.” The series depicts his conflicted relationship with religion, God and his father. “De Val” offers a poignant look into both the photographer’s personal struggle and the changing attitudes towards religion in the Netherlands. But not everyone believes in a God. In “Phenomena,” Danish photographers Tobias Selnæs Markussen, Sara Galbiati and Peter Helles Eriksen investigate the fascination with extraterrestrial life and sympathetically portray a diverse cast of paranormal believers.
Editors’ note: The exhibition will run until October 23, 2016 at FOTODOK. This exhibition was developed in collaboration with curator Jenny Smets.