Geert van Kesteren
24 November 2007 to 10 February 2008
Commissioned by the Dutch Institute for Southern Africa and Kunsthal Rotterdam, Dutch photographer Geert van Kesteren traveled to Zambia in 2007 to make a journalistic road movie. Van Kesteren approached the Zambians closely, giving a clear impression of their daily lives, knowing both moments of exceptional bliss and of profound mourning. Together with the sound-recordings made by Van Kesteren the linked-up sequence of photographs shown at the Kunsthal provide us with an honest portrait of an energetic, yet worrisome Zambia.
By means of over eighty photographs Van Kesteren shows us Zambia as he encountered it on his journey. Through both pictures and sound-recordings the visitor is taken along to a country full of lust for life, joy and love, which still holds a strong belief in God and the world of the Spirits. From the photographs, highly and richly detailed as they are, the sounds of exuberantly clapping girls, of playing children and of praying churchgoers as well as the grief of a young woman are almost audible. Van Kesteren portrays not only the attractive, proud Zambia with its magic culture, breath-taking waterfalls and picturesque villages but also shows Zambia as we know it from the News: a country struggling with corruption, poverty and AIDS, as one in every three inhabitants is tested HIV-positive. His intense way of taking photographs enables the visitors to encounter both the absolute heights and the all-time lows of Zambian life.