Here: New Dutch Views → New Dutch Views emerges from a simple gesture of reframing the idea of a shared ground, a common landscape. Marwan Bassiouni, a Swiss-born Muslim living in the Netherlands, travels the country visiting the mosques of its many different Muslim communities. From inside each of them, he takes photographs through the window of what is outside — various sections of western landscape —, thus challenging “[…] the idea that there is only one Dutch national identity and that Islam is separate from the Netherlands”, as stated by the W. Eugene Smith Student Grant that Bassiouni received in 2019.
There: Through the Mosque window → Bassiouni’s composite pictures are real views, choosing the interior in relation to the exterior, waiting for the best time of day to combine them and then working out almost all of the shadows based on the Ishan, an Islamic aesthetic concept of beauty and excellence. He produced the series in immersive large prints presented for his first solo show at the Hague Museum of Photography and a photobook, which was shortlisted for the 2019 PhotoBook Awards. The series will be on view in 2020 at Circulations, Festival de la jeune photographie européenne and at the Biel Festival of Photography 2020.
Everywhere: Organic alliance → “By illustrating the amalgamation of cultures, the focus is less on difference and more on organic alliance. ‘I’m more interested in the similarities between a Muslim person and a non-Muslim person,’ Bassiouni explains. ‘I want to look at people’s common ground rather than their differences’” writes the British Journal of Photography. The urgency of seeking remedies for stereotypes appears obvious, given that the Muslim community is the most targeted minority in the Netherlands when it comes to hate crimes. Yet the book also testifies to the reality of a complex of western Muslim identities, which Bassiouni plans to investigate further in other countries of Europe.
Marwan Bassiouni → (*1985), Based in The Hague, NL, www.marwanbassiouni.com
Education → BA in Photography, KABK, The Hague; Certified Photographer, CEPV, Vevey
Project(s) → New Dutch Views 2018–2019