October Newsletter

New episode of Suppressed By The Saviour

Yuri Dmitriev by Hester den Boer

Today, October 30th, is recognised in Russia as the annual Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression in the Soviet Union. To mark this date we are launching Karelia – Yuri Dmitriev’s Arrest, a new episode of Suppressed By The Saviour, Hester den Boer’s series of online visual stories giving a unique and intimate insight into Russia’s past and the current climate of growing repression.

Karelia is situated to the north of St. Petersburg. It was here in 1931 that Stalin ordered the construction of the White Sea Canal, the first major building project using forced labour by inmates from the Gulag camps. At least 25,000 of the 170,000 forced labourers died digging the canal. The Memorial research group discovered a huge mass grave in the forests here, in 1997. Yuri Dmitriev played an important role in this discovery and has been involved in Memorial as a researcher and amateur historian. Hester den Boer went to visit him in his flat in Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia. Shortly after their meeting, Dmitriev was arrested.

Memorial considers Yuri Dmitriev as a political prisoner. His arrest was intended to undermine his work as a historian and to discredit Memorial as an organisation. People worldwide have spoken up against his arrest. The European Union has called the charges dubious, and exhorted Russia to release Dmitriev. The arrest clearly fits the present climate in which Memorial is increasingly hindered by the authorities and demonized by state-controlled media.

Watch the episode

Student-run photo studios addressing segregation

As part of the exhibition Welkom Today at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Kwaku Photo Studio and Welkom Today Studio used photography as a social tool to connect students from Dutch and South African schools and explore the universal issue of segregation in our societies. Participants of photographic workshops given by Ad van Denderen and Lebo Tlali in South Africa and the Netherlands had the chance to run their own photo studios in Amsterdam. Guided by Lebo Tlali, they took portraits of participants and asked them to share their views on segregation in society. By choosing the background colour of their portrait, participants voted for one of three statements that deal with living in separate worlds. In exchange for their statement, they received a print of their photograph.

Kwaku Photo Studio took place in Amsterdam Zuidoost in July this year, as part of the Kwaku Summer festival. Welkom Today Studio took place in the lobby of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in September with visiting South African students whose work was part of the Welkom Today exhibition. In total over 80 participants offered their statements and posed for portraits. The outcomes of the two studios were very different, both in terms of the backgrounds of participants and their views on segregation.

Paradox is currently developing the model of the studio format with Lebo Tlali. The aim is for it to travel internationally and, combined with educational workshops, serve as a platform for young people to learn about photography and use it as a tool to investigate social issues, segregation in particular. Interested? Contact us via office@paradox.nl.

view photo studio series

Mondriaan dropping support

The Mondriaan Fund has cut its contribution to our programme for the coming period regarding the multi-year grants for presentation institutions 2020-2022. After 10 years of annual support, this is a serious blow and will mean a return to 100% project-based funding. This will affect our ability to tour productions internationally and invest in project development — something we believe is essential for documentary photography and can take years in some cases, depending on the project and issue addressed. We are considering appealing the decision and will keep you posted.

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BITTER Chocolate Stories at Afrika Museum

<em>BITTER Chocolate Stories</em> at Afrika Museum
Now until June 1 2020

BITTER Chocolate Stories is now on show at Afrika Museum. More than 2 million child labourers work on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and tens of thousands of children are victims of trafficking and forced labour in cocoa production. 6 former child labourers tell their stories. From November 30th Afrika Museum's new permanent display will also be on show.

Afrika Museum

 In the news

Time to change for farming in NL

In recent weeks Dutch farmers have been protesting against proposals to halve their livestock numbers to reduce nitrogen pollution. We share a highly relevant story from Hans van der Meer’s book Het moet anders (Time to change). The book gives a much needed voice to innovators and farmers, highlighting the complexity of modern farming.

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