The Friesian edition of Noorderlicht has traditionally been devoted to photography from a non-Western region. After events showcasing African and Latin American photography (Africa Inside, 2000, and Mundos Creados, 2002), in 2004 Noorderlicht focuses on photography from the Arab world.
In the West, the Arab world has become synonymous with confrontation and violence. Terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and between modernists and Muslim fundamentalists: these are the issues that dominate the front pages of our daily newspapers.
But is that really representative of a region that extends from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east, from Syria in the north to Sudan in the south? And how does the way those within this region see themselves, relate to the way the region is seen from outside? In other words: how do Arab photographers look at their society and themselves?
What is hidden behind the headlines and the breaking news? This question is at the heart of Nazar, a photographic triptych that is to be seen at the Fries Museum, Museum Het Princessehof and De Manege.
In more than 900 contemporary and historic photographs, Nazar - Arabic for seeing, insight, reflection - challenges the image of a world we thought we knew.
And in parallel, with the contributions of more than 25 Arab photographers, virtually none of whom have ever been exposed in the Netherlands, Nazar provides a unique image of the quality and diversity of contemporary Arab photography.
Never before has this photography been illuminated in such a comprehensive way in the West.
Nazar - Arab eyes
Fries Museum, Leeuwarden
The main exhibition of Nazar takes place in the Fries Museum and shows work by 25 contemporary photographers coming from 12 Arab countries.
In an extremely varied way they provide an image of the culture and daily life in their world. They show marriages in Morocco and the new elite of Lebanon, photograph the rooftops of Cairo and the pilgrimage to Mecca. They share their vision on the position of women and the role of religion, on modernisation and migration.View exhibition >>
Nazar - A look back
The exhibition in the Museum Het Princessehof is entirely devoted to historic photography. The photographs shown here, made chiefly in the first half of the 20th century and coming from both Arab and Western archives and museums, show a society which appears closer to Western norms than one would expect.View exhibition >>
Nazar - Western eyes
In the former Manege, a location converted by Noorderlicht for exhibition space, the Arab world is seen through the eyes of non-Arab, mostly Western photographers. They shed light on its politics, culture, religion and daily life, in many different ways. Although they generally have lived in the area for long periods, as Westerners they remain outsiders in a region that is frequently characterised as being difficult to penetrate. Cultural differences are a barrier, but at the same time grant them a freedom which would be difficult for Arab photographers to conceive. From their deep personal engagement these photographers too offer an image of the world behind the news.View exhibition >>