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Susan Meiselas - Carrying the Past, Forward
April 14, 2016
by Susan Meiselas
With the works of the award-winning American photographer Susan Meiselas the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt presents until June 5th a multi-media dialogue drawn from different parts of the world that face continual patterns of forced migration due to warfare, violence or economic conditions.
Susan Meiselas is known for her unique form of documentary photography and visual story telling, often combining her photographs with interviews, hand made books, projections and archival materials. ‘Carrying the Past, Forward’ will present two intricate bodies of work, “Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History” and “Crossings”.
“Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History” is based upon Meiselas’s documentation of the Anfal campaign in Kurdistan, archival research gathering the history of Kurdish people, documentation of workshops as well as films and publications from the photographer. Earlier photographs from El Salvador, Nicaragua and the US-Mexican border give insight to Meiselas’s groundbreaking work following her documentation of the political upheaval in Central America in the late 1970s and 80s. The aftermath is told through her revisiting of the sites and people she had previously photographed. In the 1980s the photographer subsequently traced migration across the US-Mexican border.
A crucial part of the exhibition preparation will be a 4-day workshop for individuals with Kurdish backgrounds, who have long settled here or are recent refugees now living in Germany. With Susan Meiselas’s guidance, each participant will create their own storybook based on their past experiences and personal as well as found images. These hand made books will then be added to a story map installed in the exhibition.
Part of her series presented at the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt were previously shown at the photographer’s monographic exhibition “In History” at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 2008. Carrying the Past, Forward will be the first major solo exhibition of Susan Meiselas in Germany.

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