Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, August 2013. After grueling traffic at the Qalandia checkpoint, a young man enjoys a cigarette in his car as traffic finally clears on the last evening of Ramadan. A sheep, this year's sacrificial lamb for Eid, fills the entire passenger seat. Tanya Habjouqa/NOOR from the series «Occupied Pleasures» 2013.

Tanya Habjouqa: Birds Unaccustomed to Gravity + Picture of the Year: Exhibition & Seminar

Award-winning photographer, filmmaker and anthropologist Tanja Habjouqa (Jordan/US) opens Fotografihuset’s 2024 programme with a joint exhibition and seminar organised in collaboration with Preus Museum and OsloMet, based on her ongoing work from Palestine; Birds Unaccustomed to Gravity.
Alongside Habjouqa’s outdoor exhibition, the Project Space will screen all winning entries to Årets Bilde 2023 (Picture of the Year); the Press Photographers’ Club’s annual prize for the best in Norwegian photo and video journalism.  
Having spent 13 years in East Jerusalem with a husband and two Palestinian children, Tanya Habjouqa’s photographic eye has much in common with the Palestinian proverb “A distress makes you laugh, and a distress makes you cry,”  which was recited in her book “Occupied Pleasures”, which TIME Magazine mentioned as one of the best photo books in 2015.
With her unique perspective, she has mapped the physical and psychological boundaries that have defined Palestinian life during the occupation and up until the watershed on October 7. last year, when Gaza was hermetically closed to outside journalists. Habjouqa’s first solo exhibition in Norway, which is titled “Birds Unaccustomed to Gravity”, also includes photos taken on the West Bank in late November 2023 and includes excerpts from both “Occupied Pleasures” and the ongoing series “Birds Unaccustomed to Gravity”.  Both series trace the losses and victories that define Palestinian life; shattering confrontations, microscopic liberations, and the forging, holding, and remembering of space. She explores the tensions within and around landscapes and characters etched into the lives of the land’s occupied and occupying populations.

In connection with the opening weekend, Fotografihuset – in collaboration with Preus museum and OsloMet – organise the seminar “Images from Gaza: The Politics of Representation”.

In addition to contributions from Tanya Habjouqa and philosopher Arne Johan Vetlesen, there will be a dialogue between these two and, among others, political scientist Sylo Taraku; head of the research group MEKK (Media in War and Conflict) at OsloMet Kristin Skare Orgeret; social anthropologist, researcher, journalist, editor and author Anne Hege Simonsen; head of the Palestine Committee Line Khateeb and photo editor in the paper VG Espen Rasmussen.

March 13 – SEMINAR in collaboration with Preus Museum and OsloMet: «Images from Gaza: The Politics of Representation»,  17–19.30 in OsloMet’s auditorium Athene 1, Pilestredet 46, Clara Holst hus. Free entry.
EXHIBITION OPENING in collaboration with Preus Museum: Birds Unaccustomed to Gravity Årets Bilde, 16 March, at 15.00 at Fotografihuset at Sukkerbiten.
Born in Jordan and raised between Texas and the Middle East, award-winning journalist, artist, filmmaker and anthropologist Tanya Habjouqa (b. 1975) has become a leading advocate for innovation in photojournalism and documentary practice. With a mordant sense of irony fused with unstinting, forensic interrogations of the implications of geopolitical conflict on human lives, Habjouqa weaves narratives infused with folklore and dark humor. Trained in anthropology and journalism, with an MA in Global Media and emphasis on Middle Eastern politics, her work focuses on identity politics, occupation, dispossession, human rights and subcultures of the Levant.
She is the co-founder of Rawiya, the first female photography collective from the Middle East, and is a mentor in the Arab Documentary Program, providing marginalized narratives and narrative-creators with the space and skills to tell their stories. Her work is in the collections of the MFA Boston, the Institut du Monde Arab, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. She is a Nikon Europe Ambassador and advisor and teacher for the NOOR Foundation and the Nikon NOOR academy. Habjouqa is represented by the East Wing Gallery.
Fin Serck-Hanssen, Emilie, 2021. From the book Våre Liv ME Våre Stemmer, 2021. (Our Lives ME Our Voices)

The face of time – Portrait photography, trauma and memory culture

Seminar with Andrea Gjestvang, Fin Serck-Hanssen, Øyvind Vågnes and Mette Sandbye 19th of August 2021 at 14-17:00. Details and registration at the bottom of the page.

Andrea Gjestvangs One day on history is a collection of portraits of survivors after the terrorist attack on Utøya on the 22nd of July 2011. The project is a milestone in Norwegian documentary photography, but has never before been presented as a solo exhibition in Norway. From the 15th of July to the 3rd of October 2021 Gjestvang’s photos are shown at Sukkerbiten. In this connection, Fotografihuset invites you to a seminar with Andrea Gjestvang, Fin Serck-Hanssen, Øyvind Vågnes and Mette Sandbye on portrait photography, trauma and memory culture. Here they will, among other things, discuss these questions: What is the relationship between the individual experience and our shared history in portrait photography? Can portrait photographs be empathetic, or are they primarily polemical? And can portraits contribute to processing personal and collective experiences and traumas? Moderator is art historian and critic Heidi Bale Amundsen.

Andrea Gjestvang, Cecilie, 2012. From the book One day in history, 2012.

Andrea Gjestvang

Andrea Gjestvang is a photographer with an intimate documentary style. She is best known for the portrait series A Day in History , which shows young survivors of the terrorist attack on Utøya on July 22, 2011. The project received international recognition and received a number of awards, including L’Iris d’Or / Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year 2013. Gjestvang’s pictures have been presented in a number of international publications, such as Time Magazine, The New York Times, Stern and Newsweek Japan, and they have been shown at, among others, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, Munich Stadtmuseum and The National Photographic Museum of Colombia. Gjestvang has extensive experience as a photo editor and photography teacher, and has curated several exhibitions. A day in history is currently shown at Fotografihuset.

Andrea Gjestvang will present A Day in History ; both a selection of portraits from 2012 and new ones from 2021. In the post, she will talk about the meetings with those she photographs and about how she went about portraying people in a vulnerable situation.

Fin Serck-Hanssen

Fin Serck-Hanssen has made a name for himself as a photographer in both the Norwegian and international context since the 1980s. His paintings are represented in a number of central art institutions, including in the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in England and in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo. His main motive is the body, and he works mostly in series. His breakthrough was a series of photographs from the late 1980s, of naked male bodies in water. Since then, he has portrayed AIDS patients, ME patients and torture victims. The book Hedda , which follows a young person through gender-confirming treatment, will be launched at the Photo Gallery in Oslo on 22 August 2021.

Fin Serck-Hanssen will talk about his work through thirty years of photographic portraits of people in vulnerable situations.

Øyvind Vågnes

Øyvind Vågnes is a professor of visual culture at the Department of Information and Media Studies at the University of Bergen. His research focuses on visual culture in a broad sense, and he has published widely on how the traumatic is interpreted and managed in various media, including Zaprudered: The Kennedy Assassination Film in Visual Culture (Texas University Press, 2011) and the essay «A Day in History: Andrea Gjestvang’s 22 July Photographs »( October 24, 2017). Vågnes also works as a critic, and as co-editor of the Journal of Visual Culture . In addition, he is a fiction writer, and received the Nynorsk Literature Prize for the novel Ekko in 2005.

In an article from 2017 about Andrea Gjestvang’s “A day in history”, Øyvind Vågnes develops the concept of “committed spectatorship” to describe the binding relationship between Gjestvang’s photo series and the viewer. In his post, Vågnes will bring up this concept again and discuss what it means today, when he looks at the same pictures four years later.

Mette Sandbye

Mette Sandbye is a professor of photography studies at the University of Copenhagen and a long-time art critic. She is interested in contemporary art and photography as part of a broad visual culture and has written a number of books in the field, such as Boring Pictures. Snapshot Aesthetics of Photography (2007), Memorials. Time and memory in photography (2001) and Manual for Danish contemporary art (2006, with Lisbeth Bonde). She has also been the editor of several publications, such as Dansk Fotografihistorie (2004) and Digital Snaps. The new face of photography (2013, with Jonas Larsen). Sandbye is currently working on curating Fotografisk Center’s 25th anniversary exhibition.

In the post “The Portrait as a Gateway to the Collective Disaster”, Sandbye will discuss Susan Sontag’s thoughts on “experiencing the suffering of others” and Judith Butler’s concept of “grievable lives” – based on the book Memorials. Time and memory in photography . She will draw a line through contemporary art’s use of the portrait from Christian Boltanski and Igor Savchenko to Pia Arke and Kent Klich.

Time: Thursday 19.8. at 14-17
Place: Sukkerbiten, Nylandsveien 28. 0150 Oslo

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