Speakers: Ad Nuis, Femke Lutgerink
“I have taken numerous photos of people peeling potatoes, doing their laundry, mowing their lawn and other daily chores. Wasn’t it time for me to enter the big bad world?” Thus, photographer and geographer Ad Nuis deciced to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan: since 2005 home of the world’s largest oil pipeline, running through Georgia and Turkey. Nuis’ Oil & Paradise ironically examines the newly acquired wealth of the former Soviet state.
In 2012 Azerbaijan, a country under strict dictatorship, organised the Eurovision Songfestival. It turned out to be an unabashed display of new wealth in the country that also competed to get the football World Cup and the Olympics. Human rights are not on its agenda and only a fortunate group of people profits from the country’s exuberant wealth. However few people in the western world seem concerned about this. There is too much at stake to do so. As Nuis calls it: “It’s geopolitics on a Champions League level.”
Between 2008 and 2013 Nuis visited Baku ten times, each time for a period of about 25 days. With Oil & Paradise Nuis portrays the absurd contradictions between the lives of the nouveaux riches in Baku and the ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan.
Ad Nuis (The Netherlands) graduated from the School for Photography in The Hague in 1985. He has been working as an independent photographer ever since. His photos regularly appear in newspapers and magazines, e.g. De Volkskrant, Parool, Vrij Nederland and VPRO. In addition Nuis works on long-term projects that usually result in a publication or artist book, for instance Alweer een Dag, De Dam, De Bovenste Verdieping and Nieuwe Amsterdammers.
Femke Lutgerink (The Netherlands) studied art history at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2002 she works as an independent curator and organizer. In 2008 she started FOTODOK, international space for documentary photography together with photographer Rob Hornstra. Since that time she is FOTODOK’s artistic director. FOTODOK is based in Utrecht. Throughout the year their program consists of exhibitions, lectures, debates, education and international exchange. The program comes into existence through the work of a dedicated team and many (inter)national collaborators.