Festivals

African Portraiture at the Unseen 2016 Fair and Festival

Main image: Ene1 © Delphine Diallo. All images © the artist, courtesy Unseen

There's a strong African element to the programme of the fifth edition of the Unseen Photo Fair & Festival in Amsterdam, which kicks off this September. 

For the latest edition of Unseen Photo Festival, the entire Spaarndammer neighbourhood of Amstrerdam is to give itself up to photography and interaction, by giving visitors the chance to have portrait taken by artists such as South African artist Zanele Muholi in Face to Face: African Portraiture.

Unseen Photo Fair, which takes place at the Westergasfabriek terrain to the West of Amsterdam’s city centre, will also be orientated around Self Publish Be Happy publisher Bruno Ceschel and artist Lucas Blalock’s “focus on augmented reality in photography.”

British artist Clare Strand will also give Unseen festival-goers the chance to win her work with a fun fair-hoopla.

Here’s what to catch at this year’s Unseen:

Big Couple Green _ Blue, 2015 © Pierre-Christophe Gam

Face to Face: African Portraiture
Studio portraiture is a long standing tradition within the history of photography on the African continent. This year, Unseen will create its own pop up studio outside at the Westergasfabriek, inviting established and young emerging artists from leading African countries to document the visitors of Unseen.

The project will highlight this integral part of African’s cultural heritage. Artists across the continent are looking at portraiture in new ways, incorporating their heritage, yet looking at new ways to document their sitters.

Making Memeries
London’s Bruno Ceschel is to explore “augmented reality” with his onsite project Making Memeries. American artist Lucas Blalock has created a unique installation consisting of eight movable panel structures.

Through the free ‘Making Memeries’ mobile phone app, you will be able to activate elements of this installation: sounds, videos and graphics, ‘augmenting’ your own physical reality with digital sensory inputs.

With his project, the artists explore the blurring boundaries surrounding on/offline existence and performance in a meme- driven world.

Making Memeries, installation view, 2016 © Harry Mitchell_Self Publish, Be Happy (2)

All That Hoopla
British artist Clare Strand invites you to a game of hoopla. The hoopla challenge is a well-known fun fair attraction that invites visitors to pay a small fee for several attempts to throw a hoop over a prize. In this case: Clare Strand’s own work. The Hoopla stall installation introduces a new approach to photography acquisition whilst creating a new way of interacting between artist and art fair audience.

Unseen Living Room & Dummy Award
The Unseen Living Room programme has been finalised with speakers including Roger Ballen (artist, US), David Campany (writer, artist and curator, UK), Princess Alia Al–Senussi (LB/VS), Mark Coetzee (Executive Director, Zeitz MOCAA, ZA) and Koos Breukel (artist, NL).

The winner for the Unseen Dummy Award 2016 will be made public on Friday the 23rd of September at the Unseen Book Market.

Making Memeries, installation view, 2016 © Harry Mitchell_Self Publish, Be Happy (1)

Gallery Night
Gallery Night, where some of Amsterdam’s most exciting galleries exhibiting photography open their doors for an exclusive late-night opening. On Saturday the 24th of September, selected galleries are open from 8pm.

Unseen Photo Festival

As well as three main exhibitions by Christto & Andrew, Anton Corbijn and a selection of Japanese photographers, the programme also includes an installation by Ukrainian artist Ola Lanko at the neighbourhood playground, and an exhibition on Dutch singer Typhoon at the Art Hotel.

Hoopla, 2016 © Clare Strand_LhGWR

Unseen Videos
This year, Unseen offers a special ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the working process of several Unseen artists. The five nominees of the ING Unseen Talent Award present themselves in short videos on Unseen’s website from September 5th, after which the viewer can vote directly for his or her favourite.

On Sunday the 18th of September, Kunstuur by AVROTROS will broadcast a documentary about Unseen’s campaign artists Christto & Andrew in their place of residence, Qatar. After its broadcast, the documentary will be available on Unseen’s website.

Unseen Photo Fair 23 – 25 September Unseen Photo Festival 16 – 25 September. For more information see here