Born Free: Mandela’s Generation of Hope | Ilvy Njiokiktjien ©
Photoville is New York City’s free premier photo destination. Produced by United Photo Industries, the annual festival is a modular venue built from re-purposed shipping containers. By creating a physical platform for photographers of all stripes to come together and interact, Photoville provides a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse audience — a veritable cross-section of the world’s photographic community.
Photoville returns for an eighth year in picturesque Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, from September 12-22, 2019. Once again, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza—located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO beneath the majestic span of the Brooklyn Bridge— will be transformed into an immersive photography village populated by 65+ shipping containers repurposed into galleries.
Working with more than 100 curatorial partners, Photoville 2019 will exhibit work by over 600 visual artists. In addition, the festival offers nighttime projection programs, hands-on workshops, an education day for New York City middle and high-school students, panel discussions and talks presented next door at the iconic St. Ann’s Warehouse.
Immersion and interactivity are at the heart of what makes Photoville such a successful and popular event, allowing it to become the largest annual photographic event in New York City and among the most-attended photographic events nationwide. Photoville’s seventh edition (2018) in Brooklyn Bridge Park, welcomed over 95,000 visitors.
_I_lvy Njiokiktjien’s BORN FREE – MANDELA’S GENERATION OF HOPE
About the exhibition
Twenty-five years ago, in 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president and his nation was a free country. The segregation system of apartheid had ended; Mandela had high hopes for the youth.
Children born in South Africa around 1994 are part of the Born Free Generation. This generation, the first to be born after apartheid, is supposed to bring unity and change to the country. They are Mandela’s human legacy: the first generation in which every South African has the same opportunities and racial segregation, on paper, is a thing of the past. They were to be the face of a new, free, and successful South Africa. Nelson Mandela always had a big heart for the youth, and would often refer to his dreams for the youth in his speeches. In this feature the born frees question the outcome of the dream Mandela had for them. They also talk about modern-day racism; What is it like to be black, or colored in this modern-day world? The South African story has many connections to other race-related stories around the world.
Many born frees live successful lives, and are making careers that they wouldn’t have been able to do during the old racist regime. There is a big group that is thriving in the new South Africa. But at the same time, there is still a long way to go. Corruption, crime and poverty are keeping many of the born frees captive. Instead of enjoying freedom and prosperity, this “born free generation” struggles – sometimes even more than their parents – with unemployment and inequality. Official segregation may be a thing of the past, but class segregation seems to have taken its place.
Ilvy Njiokiktjien’s personal project, which has spread over twelve years, looks into how free the born-free are actually living, and how modern-day racism influences their day-to-day lives.
About Ilvy Njiokiktjien
Ilvy Njiokiktjien is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist based in the Netherlands. She is represented by VII Photo Agency and she is a Canon Ambassador.
Ilvy has worked in many parts of the world, with a focus on Africa. As a documentary photographer, she covers current affairs and contemporary social issues. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Der Spiegel, NRC Handelsblad, Telegraph Magazine, and Stern, among others, and it was exhibited at Visa pour l’Image in 2012.
_H_armen Meinsma’s THE LAST SEASON I & II
About the exhibition
At Photoville 2019, Harmen Meinsma shows The Last Season I & II, existing out of two projects in which Harmen wanders the streets looking for extraordinary personalities who will pose for him. The first project is shot on the campsite in Hoek van Holland, where every year a few hundred Dutch people come together to celebrate the summer months. The second project has Rotterdam as its backdrop, where Harmen shows the cultural diversity of its inhabitants.
Once Harmen finds his subjects and builds a mutual trust with them, he then plans a production with a team of stylists to give these people the star treatment. Our society is all about being young and vital, so Harmen picks out older models, and he gives them the glamour and attention they deserve.
It’s his mission to put these personalities on a pedestal using his camera and creative team. He usually focuses on people with a flamboyant character, and those who enjoy being in the spotlight. In all his images, he likes to exaggerate with the use of styling, selecting the locations, and glamorous lighting. It’s a celebration of growing older, being different, and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd.
About Harmen Meinsma
Harmen Meinsma started his photographic career in Balk, a village in the north of Holland. During his teenage years, being gay in a small town was very isolating for him. Harmen spent most of his time creating various styles of decor in his bedroom and taking photographs of himself and his friends. His photography thus became a positive escape.
Over the years, Harmen’s work further developed into the photographic career he has today. His practice has moved from a focus on self-portraits, towards a fascination for the eccentric and free-spirits of this world. The creative framework of fashion also allows Harmen to build a fantasy world filled with color and costumes.
Harmen is not interested in capturing reality, but he does become inspired by what he discovers in real life. He forms this reality following the direction of his own imagination, casting his subjects as the main characters. Through his work, the photographer gives the unconventional subjects of society the spotlight they deserve.
His drive as a photographer is to make images come from a sense of empowerment, and a celebration of being different. Harmen treats his subjects with tremendous love and respect: an aspect this is visible in every image he produces.
_G_ijs van den Berg’s THE NEW AMSTERDAM KOFFIEHUIS
About the exhibition
In recent years, Amsterdam has transformed from a city for locals into a hotspot for tourists. Traditional shops and cafés made way for international flagship stores and trendy bars. This transformation is not unique to Amsterdam, but traditional coffee houses that once occupied every street corner are quickly disappearing from the city. The coffeehouses used to be inseparable from the lifestyle of the city, but a new generation of coffee drinkers prefers hip boutiques and exotic coffee drinks.
The disappearing can’t be stopped, times have changed. This project shows the last standing coffeehouses of Amsterdam. To preserve their special character, the twenty five photographs were printed in a traditional darkroom using coffee from the actual coffeehouses to develop the images. The paper was stained with coffee, and it has given the photographs a unique character…and of course the smell of fresh coffee.
About Gijs van den Berg
Gijs van den Berg is an Amsterdam based artist. He takes everyday situations and objects out of context to give them new meaning. His works span a variety of media including video, photography, and graphic design, depending on what fits best with the conceptual idea behind the work. Gijs van den Berg is also creative director of KesselsKramer, a creative communication agency with offices in Amsterdam, London, and Los Angeles.
Admission to Photoville is free. Photoville opens on September 12 at 04:00 PM and will be on until September 22, 2019. From September 16 – 18, Photoville will be closed to the public. For more information on Photoville’s daily opening hours, visit their website.
Photoville will be located in Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, on the corners of Water Street and New Dock Street. It is directly underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO and bordered by Jane’s Carousel and St. Ann’s Warehouse.