Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Exhibition at Paris Museum of Modern Art: parallel between Nazi camp/Gaza Strip

"Seen from Europe, it is not because the frightening reality of the Nazi concentration camps began on the soil of our continent ["our continent" is Europe where six million Jews were industrially exterminated, of which 1.5 million children], that we can now accept the reality of what has become in 60 years, with the radicalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a genuine Palestinian internment camp at the gates of Israel." (Edouard Carmignac) 

"To journalists outraged by the infamous parallel Nazi camp / Gaza Strip Carmignac Gestion protested without arguing or convincing."
 
Honest Reporting report on Kai Wiedenhöfer: Getty Images Awards Photo Bias
 
Source: Véronique Chemla (« Gaza 2010 » de Kai Wiedenhöfer)

The prestigious museum of Modern Art of Paris is showing an exhibition by German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer entitled "Gaza 2010"Kai Wiedenhöfer, a photographer with Lookat Photos in Switzerland, was awarded  the first ever the "Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize".  The Prize was created in 2009 by the Luxembourg/French fund manager Carmignac Gestion and the first theme was Gaza after the Lead Cast operation.  Vivienne Walt, of Time Magazine, was a member of the jury.  The prize comprises EURO 50,000 for further work on Gaza, an exhibition, a book, published by Steidl Publishers (from the U.K. [1]- making it a truly pan-European enterprise) and a deluxe catalogue The Book of the Destruction Gaza – One Year After the 2009 War offered to journalists at the exhibition opening together with … a 20-page summury of the Goldstone report in French.  And lots of exposure.

French journalist Véronique Chemla has made an harrowing account of the exhibition. 

The head of the Carmignac fund, Edouard Carmignac, explained the reasons behind the choice (unauthorised translation):

"It is unacceptable for the victims of one of the most terrible tragedies of the century to remain virtually forgotten and abandoned by all.

Seen from Europe, it is not because the frightening reality of the Nazi concentration camps began on the soil of our continent, that we can now accept the reality of what has become in 60 years, with the radicalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a genuine Palestinian internment camp at the gates of Israel.

It is not our purpose to side with one camp or another, with one camp against another, but to show the naked reality, in its full atrocity. And thus, to contribute, and the duty of photojournalist Kai Waidenhöfer to bear witness, but also to contribute to our awareness as citizens. There is no doubt that these pictures will shock, but it is also their role to help bring out the truth. The Carmignac Gestion prize has no other purpose than to help shed light on a subject dear to our heart."

Véronique Chemla writes than when asked by journalists shocked by the infamous comparison between Nazi camp/Gaza strip Carmignac Gestion failed to offer a credible and convincing explanation.

This is how Carmignac Gestion portrays Kai Wiedenhöfer : "Since 1990, this committed photographer has been engaged in a massive documentary project on daily life in the occupied territories. Kai Wiedenhöfer stood out for the consistent way he has monitored, treated and explored the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A fluent Arabic speaker, he shows an attachment and understanding that go beyond the news headlines, delving below the surface of moments of tension and extreme violence to produce a coherent documentary record. This approach follows a humanist tradition that questions what it finds with sensitivity, avoiding any lapse into stylised representation, in order to convey reality in all its complexity."

Kai Wiedenhöfer will return to Gaza:

"As winner of the 2009 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Prize, Kai Wiedenhöfer will now go back to the Gaza Strip to witness and record its reconstruction since the last Israeli attack in January 2009.
He will produce a further series of photographs based around three themes:
- The debris: the scars of the bombardments of the city and how the Palestinians have found a new way of life in makeshift homes.
- The siege: daily life in the blockade, food supplies, pollution, psychological distress, water, the wall, the Rafah crossing point.
- The remains of the Israeli settlements: returning to the places he photographed in the summer of 2005 at the time of the Israeli army’s withdrawal."

[1] Steidl Publishers have already published two anti-Israel books by him:  Perfect Peace and Wall

Kai Wiedenhöfer's biography on the Alexia Foundation blog.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

I pondered to myself recently what were the most important things in my life. The answer seems to be clear that art was up there in importance. Why? Frankly, I don't really know. May be someone here can enlighten me?
As was my wont w
hen I have some free time, I browsed the marvelous site, wahooart.com, where they keep thousands of digital images for customers to select to have printed into handsome canvas prints for their homes.
This image jumped out to jolt my reveries: Still life with bread, by the Cubist Georges Braque. Is art like this picture, as essential as bread and water, or should I say bread and wine?