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Beyond the Silence

A collaborative project has selected photographers from South-East Asia, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to join a global discussion around themes of occupation, annexation, colonialism and censorship.

Ukraine. 2023. © Rafał Milach / Magnum Photos
Ukraine. 2023. © Rafał Milach / Magnum Photos

What does silence hide? Who benefits from silence? Can silence protect or harm us? Whose voices are able to break through the silence?

First initiated after the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, ‘Beyond the Silence’ aims to create dialogue among photographers from different countries, illuminating shared experiences and common challenges.

After it began, the ongoing war in Ukraine was a stark reminder of the global international ties between different countries and continents, highlighting the global repercussions of local strife. In every corner of our world, conflicts both decades-old and newly-emerging serve as a stark reminder of not only our interconnectedness as nations, but also of the myriad shared experiences in communities worldwide.

From ongoing occupation and annexation, the impact of colonialism and censorship, as well as individual and collective decisions to fight or adapt – these are just some of the themes ‘Beyond the Silence’ invites artists to respond to with their own perspectives.

Conducted in two stages, this project will culminate in eight selected photographers producing a body of work each which, along with the work of four Magnum photographers, will be presented in public exhibitions in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Ukraine, and the United States.

The collaborative project organized by Magnum Photos is delighted to announce the selection of the participants. 

With the support of the Open Society Foundations and Ukrainian Institute, and in partnership with Odesa Photo Days Festival (Ukraine), Centro de las Artes San Agustín (Mexico), Africa Artists’ Foundation (Nigeria), Vlast (Kazakhstan), and the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (Cambodia), the project goal is to provoke a dialog about important issues of our time and give a voice to local authors from different regions.

“The Beyond The Silence project is complex both in terms of its structure and the topics that photographers from different regions will work on. Every participant will be developing their own project but in a dialog with colleagues from other countries. For me, it is important that the authors retain their own identity and, at the same time, expand each other’s optics, look at the research topic from a different perspective,” the curator of the project, Odesa Photo Days Festival founder Kateryna Radchenko says.

During the first stage of the Beyond The Silence project, 64 authors from 5 countries took part in a one-day online workshop with Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP). The workshop was dedicated to discussing the development of long-term projects, visual storytelling, and methods of working with complex topics.

According to the results of the second stage of the selection process, 8 photographers became participants of Beyond The Silence and will work together with each other and Magnum photographers for 3 months:

  • Sasha Kurmaz (Ukraine) – Daniel Orlando Lara Garcia (Mexico) – Rafal Milach (Poland, Magnum Photos),
  • Ira Lupu (Ukraine) – Fawaz Oyediji (Nigeria) – Newsha Tavakolian (Iran, Magnum Photos),
  • Daria Svertilova (Ukraine) – Sai (Myanmar) –  Antoine d’Agata (France, Magnum Photos),
  • Mykhaylo Palinchak (Ukraine) – Yadykar Ibraimov (Kazakhstan) –  Thomas Dworzak (Germany, Magnum Photos).

They will receive a grant of $3,000 to create their project on one of the topics: “Censorship/Freedom of Speech,” “Territory. Occupied/Annexed,” “Kidnapping & Abduction,” and “Fight/Adaptation.” The online collaboration aims to share experiences from different countries, advice, and support from each other, as well as an opportunity to look at the research topic from a different angle.

“Magnum Photos is a key actor in opening the dialogue on global crisis via photography. With this project, we aim to raise awareness by lifting up the voices of the ones who live the crisis and who demand to be seen and heard. Here we create together with international partners new ways of visual narrations and new channels of dialogues while maintaining the role of photography and storytelling as a tool for understanding global issues that connect us all,” emphasizes Editorial Director of Magnum Photos, Giulietta Palumbo.

The joint work and the Beyond The Silence project will result in exhibitions in Ukraine, and partner countries that will take place in late 2024 and early 2025.

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