AboutGeert Van Kesteren (NL) has established himself as one of the most thoughtful and innovative photojournalists working today. He has used his pictures in books and in large multimedia installations comprising live data feeds. His book, Why Mister, Why? is one of the few photographic books to attempt a political and synthetic view of the Iraq war. It tracks the brutal tactics of the coalition forces, the many humiliations of life for ordinary Iraqis under the occupation, Shia religious ceremonies and the unearthing by relatives of the mass graves of victims of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.
With Baghdad Calling, Van Kesteren worked with Iraqi refugees, millions of whom have been scattered across the globe by the conflict in one of the largest humanitarian crises of modern times. He became fascinated by their use of phone images through which they communicated with each other and those that remained in Iraq. These images, sometimes mundane shots of family life made poignant by circumstances of separation, sometimes images of bombings and other killings, are contrasted with Van Kesteren's own eloquent photographs of the conditions of the refugee. The exhibition of Baghdad Calling extends out of Lighthouse and into Jubilee Square, where four billboard-sized photographs will be displayed for the duration of the Biennial. These images have been taken from a selection of photographs, collected by Van Kesteren, made by Iraqi refugees using their mobile phones.
For the Biennial, Van Kesteren will make installations of both sets of work, the first time that they have been seen together.