Foyer Gallery

Showcase: Tokyo International Photography Competition

Maria Sturn

Launch 6pm Thursday 4 July
Running 5-28 July

PhotoIreland Festival 2019 brings to the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland the results of this year’s Tokyo International Photography Competition to Irish audiences, offering visitors its characteristic varied selection of practices. We have been part of the jury process this year, and hope everyone enjoys the works on display as much as we have selecting these.

Recognising the difficulty faced by photographers in reaching foreign markets due to language or cultural barriers, the Tokyo International Photography Competition (TIPC) was created to provide an opportunity for photographers to present their artistic visions beyond their country’s borders and open up the possibilities for cross-pollination and cross-border collaborations. Each year, a jury composed of acclaimed photography professionals from around the world nominate 8 talented photographers whose work is exhibited as part of an international traveling exhibition.

The theme of the 6th TIPC is Need/Want, inviting artists to explore the urgent push-pull relationship between “need” and “want” through the photographic lens.

Seunggu Kim and his series Better Days has been selected by the Jury as the Grand Prix winner!

The 2019 finalists, who will also be exhibited in this travelling exhibition are:
Lebohang Kganye, Reconstruction of a Family
Diambra Mariani, Don’t Think of an Elephant
Noritaka Minami, California City, California
Maria Sturm, “You Don’t Look Native to Me”
Rhulani Anthony Bila, Revelations from the Children of God
Jaako Kahilaniemi, 100 Hectares of Understanding
Bouyan Zhang, Jiang Nan: Changing Traditions in Western China

The travelling exhibition will make its way through Wonder Foto Day (Taipei, Taiwan), The UPI Gallery (New York, USA), PhotoIreland Festival (Dublin, Ireland), and 72 Gallery (Tokyo, Japan).

With thanks to:

The Artists and Projects

TIPC 6th EDITION Grand Prix Winner

Better Days by Seunggu Kim

Korea has been developed rapidly over 40 years, which caused a lot of social ironies. One of the ironies is long working hours with a very short period of break. During holidays, Koreans try their best to enjoy it, but due to lack of time to travel, they spend time mostly around the city. Therefore, the leisure places around Seoul and suburb try to show something interesting to entertain their customers. By doing so, all of the western and Korean cultures are mixed together. Better Days describes Korean spectacles from the way they enjoy their short vacation.

Born and raised in Seoul, Korea in 1979, Seunggu Kim lives and works in Seoul, South Korea. And he majored in photography in SM university and studied visual art at Korea National University of Arts. He would like to describe how we are living. He thought photography could show our ‘real world’. He wanted to balance the unnatural elements in the rectangle frame and describe what we are getting used to the social ironies of reality. Exhibitions have included Artbit Gallery, Post Territory Ujeongguk, Song Eun Storage / Song Eun Art Cube, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Art Sonje, Song Eun Art Space, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, and BMW Photo Space, Busan, Korea, Exco, Daegu, Korea. Awards and Grants include Filter Space, Chicago, Finalist of Lens Culture, The Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Korea, GoEun Art, and Cultural Foundation, Korea, The Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation.


Reconstruction of a Family by Lebohang Kganye

With the scotching sun piercing the skin, I spent weeks walking along the gravel roads of the small town Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo, Eastern Cape which the residents call a village, a term foreign in my vocabulary. Shawn Graaff – an American young woman who lives between Cape Town and Nieu Bethesda and works on the restoration and conservation of the Owl House and the cement sculptures created by Helen Martins and Koos Malgas. She introduced us to many of the villagers, including a beekeeper who makes cosmetic products in her backyard from beeswax, a violin string maker using horse tails to make the strings, we drove to a livestock auction where the farmers bid for sheep and met a ‘tannie’ in her tea garden who translates Athol Fugard’s plays from English to Afrikaans. Through the construction of miniature theatre sets with silhouette cut-outs of the characters in the diorama, I stage the stories the villagers narrated to me in relation to Athol Fugard’s play Road to Mecca and a chapter from Lauren Beukes’ book Maverick about Helen Martins. Reconstruction of a Family confronts the conflicting stories, which are told in multiple ways, even by the same person — a combination of memory and fantasy. The work does not attest to being documentation of a people but presents their personal narratives, which they share over a cup of tea, homemade ginger ale or the locally brewed beer. These prized possessions hearken back to a particular time but are also vehicles to a fantasy that allows for a momentary space to ‘perform’ ideals of community. Fictive narratives depend on oral histories, genealogist, Kimberley Powell states, “Oral histories are stories told by living people about the past. Generally, these are stories of their own life and the lives of the people around them. Often an oral history includes details and stories that exist nowhere other than in the individual’s mind.” The work is mainly inspired by Athol Fugard’s plays Train Driver.

Lebohang Kganye is an artist living and working in Johannesburg. Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop, in Johannesburg in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Johannesburg and is currently doing her Masters in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand University. Kganye forms a new generation of contemporary South African photographers, although primarily a photographer, Kganye’s photography often incorporates her interest in sculpture and performance. Over the past seven years, she has participated in photography masterclasses and group exhibitions locally and internationally. Kganye was the recipient of the Tierney Fellowship Award in 2012, leading to her solo exhibition Ke Lefa Laka. She created an animation from the series, which was launched on Mandela Day 2014 in Scotland, entitled Pied Piper’s Voyage. She was also awarded the Jury Prize at the Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography in 2015 and was the recipient of the CAP Prize 2016 in Basel. Kganye recently received the coveted award for the Sasol New Signatures Competition 2017, leading to a solo show in 2018. Kganye’s work forms part of several private and public collections, most notably the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the Walther Collection in Ulm.


Don’t Think of an Elephant by Diambra Mariani

The number of crimes is decreasing in Italy. From 1st of August 2017 to 31st of July 2018 there was a decline of 9.5% compared to the previous twelve months. Nevertheless, one Italian out of four is afraid to be alone on the street in the evening and one in ten is terrified of staying home alone… This photographic research aims to investigate why Italy is so scared (what they NEED to feel safer) and how people react to this fear (what they WANT to feel safer). The opportunity to approach the topic is the forthcoming discussion in the Italian Lower Chamber about the proposal to change article 52 of the Italian Penal Code. The new law would introduce the “presumption of legitimate defense” which is partially inspired by the USA “Castle Doctrine”. Its mission is to create an irrebuttable presumption that an individual who kills or harms another within his or her private property has acted in self-defense and cannot be prosecuted. According to Giorgio Beretta, an analyst of OPAL, this new law will bring many Italians to arm themselves. If, on one hand, economic interests of arms factories can influence political programs and public debate, on the other it seems that the Italian justice system has a crucial role if we want to understand the reasons why the perception of insecurity is nowadays so widespread. Italians tend to react to this frustration by focusing on the idea of private justice and self-defense and the political answer in changing the article 52 indulges to this trend. According to CENSIS, a third of the population in the last 2 years has renounced to undertake a judicial action because they think Italian justice is unable to guarantee the protection of rights. Could this need for justice be addressed differently? If the political reaction was focused on the solution of justice inefficiency, would Italian WANT to arm themselves? A country in which people can rely on the judicial system is a country with less thirst for revenge and private justice?

Born in Verona, Italy, in 1982, she graduated in Law at Statale University of Milan and in Venice with a Master in Photography and Digital Imaging. In 2011 she joined Prospekt Agency, Milan. Her pictures were exhibited in Italy and abroad and published, among others, on The Sunday Times Magazine, Liberation, MarieClaire, D La Repubblica delle Donne, Internazionale, L’Espresso, Brand Eins, Vanity Fair, Corriere della Sera, Sportweek. Her work has also been featured on several online magazines, such as GUP magazine, Phases Magazine, P3, Art Photo Index, Feature Shoot, Revista OLD, Die Nacht, Lens Culture, F Stop, 7.7, Piel de Foto, Kittykiwi, Fotografia Femminile. 2017, Streamers/Celeste Network, finalist 2016, FotoFest Porto Alegre, selected 2015, GUP#47, shortlisted 2015 Angkor Photo Festival, selected 2015 BIPA Award, finalist 2015, Fotonoviembre, selected 2015, ND Award, honorable mention 2015 KUALA LUMPUR International Photo Award, finalist 2014 Fondacio Vila Casas Photography Prize, finalist 2013 Descubrimientos Photo Espana, selected 2012 Arles Le nuit de l’Année, selected 2011, Giovanni Tabò/Fotoleggendo, honorable mention 2010 Inail/Prospekt Award, first prize


California City, California by Noritaka Minami

My project examines California City, a master-planned community in the Mojave Desert conceived by sociologist turned real estate developer Nathan Mendelsohn in the 1950s. The city was envisioned as the next major metropolis in California in response to the population and economic growths the state experienced after World War II. Mendelsohn and his associates carefully designed the layout of 187 square miles that is to this day listed as the third largest “city” in terms of land size. The early promotional materials for California City employed water as a recurring motif to emphasize the city’s appeal to potential homeowners. The land was touted as having the largest concentration of water wells in the entire Mojave Desert, capable of eventually producing “more than 20,000,000 gallons per day” to create a “water-rich” wonderland. Today, California City exists as a place that has yet to meet the original ambition of its developer and the idyllic image that was promoted to the public. Moreover, the claim that the land was rich with underground sources of water was found to be largely unsubstantiated. My photographs focus on a vast section of California City that is mostly uninhabited, despite having a complex network of streets that stretch across the landscape. The aerial photographs document the scale of the vision Mendelsohn proposed in the desert. These photographs show the site seemingly suspended in time: clearly there to host a city in the future but also without any signs if that future will ever arrive. The aim of my project is to explore the gap between the image that was projected onto the desert landscape by Mendelsohn in the 1950s and the image of California City that exists today in reality.

Noritaka Minami is a photographer based in Chicago. He received his BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley and his MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine. Minami is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Loyola University Chicago. He has also taught courses at Harvard University, Wellesley College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine. He is a recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the Santo Foundation, and Center for Cultural Innovation. In 2015, he published a monograph titled “1972 — Nakagin Capsule Tower” (Kehrer Verlag), which received the 2015 Architectural Book Award from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany. Solo exhibitions of his works have been held at Kana Kawanishi Gallery, SFO Museum, USC Roski School of Art and Design, UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, Griffin Museum of Photography, and UC Merced Art Gallery. His works have also been exhibited at Aperture (New York), Somerset House (London), Photo Basel (Basel), and Kearney Street Workshop (San Francisco). Minami’s works are held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, and Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago.


You Don’t Look Native to Me by Maria Sturm

“You don‘t look Native to me” is a quote and the title of a body of work, that shows excerpts from the lives of young Native Americans from around Pembroke, Robeson County, North Carolina, where 89% of the city’s population identifies as Native American. The town is the tribal seat of the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina, the largest state-recognized Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River, which means they are federally unrecognized and therefore have no reservation nor any monetary benefits. I am tracing their ways of self-representation, transformed through history, questions of identity with which they are confronted on a daily basis, and their reawakening pride in being Native. The work consists of portraits, along with landscapes and places, interiors, still lives, and situations. The aesthetic framework that is presented offers clues — sometimes subtle, sometimes loud — for imparting a feeling for their everyday lives. My work engages an unfamiliar mix of concepts: a Native American tribe whose members are ignored by the outside world, who do not wear their otherness on their physique, but who are firm in their identity. Through photography, video, and interviews, I am investigating what happens when social and institutional structures break down and people are forced to rely on themselves for their own resources. This raises questions to the viewer regarding one’s own identity and membership to the unspecified mainstream. This project deals with the need, but in there also the inherent want to be recognized and not questioned anymore as one important and necessary way to strengthen their cultural identity and therefore to be able to move forward. It was started in October 2011.

Maria Sturm (*1985, Romania) received a diploma in Photography from FH Bielefeld in 2012 and a MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design. She is a Fulbright and DAAD scholar. She has won several prizes including the New York Photo Award 2012 and the DOCfield Dummy Award Barcelona 2015 with the work Be Good Her work “You don’t look Native to me” won the PH Museum Women Photograper Grant, was shortlisted for La Fabrica Dummy Award and made the 2nd place at Unseen Dummy Award. It was published in British Journal of Photography and exhibited at the German Consulate New York, Clamp Art New York, Encontros da Imagem, Addis Foto Fest, Photo Vogue Festival, Artists Unlimited Bielefeld and Aperture Foundation New York among others. It will be next shown at Format Festival 2019. Having met in during a month-long residency at Atelier de Visu Marseille and workshop with Antoine d’Agata in 2012 Cemre Yeşil and Maria Sturm kept in touch ever since. Their collaborative work For Birds’ Sake was published by La Fabrica and featured in Colors Magazine, The Guardian, British Journal of Photography and ZEITmagazin among others. It was exhibited at FotoIstanbul, Bitume Photofest, Organ Vida, Format Festival, Daire Gallery, Pavlov’s Dog Berlin, Deichtorhallen Hamburg. It was a finalist at OjodePez Award for Human Values 2015 and Renaissance Photography Prize 2017, nominated for Lead Awards 2016, Henri-Nannen-Preis 2016 and Arles Author Book Award 2016 and Prix Levallois 2017.


IZITYHILELO ZIKA NDZIMANI (Revelations from the Children of God) by Rhulani Anthony Bila

Izambulo zabantwana benkholo is the introduction to the story which means Revelations from the children of religion in isiZulu. Iziythilelo is the Xhosa word relating to the book of Revelations of the Christian Bible. In the Book of Revelations, it speaks about the ‘End Times’ or ‘Last Days’ and condemns many actions prophesied to manifest in that time. This photo series seeks to explore how these young people feel a conflict between their need for spirituality and the desire to navigate their place and identity in an evolving, complex world. There’s inner-conflict between their long-held beliefs about morality, sexuality, and identity that they seek to navigate. Many of these beliefs are now at loggerheads with their lived experiences. The discovery of new identities that challenge the notion of who and what they should be based on what they see as societal and religious norms. This series seeks to explore how this impacts on their need for self determination. Ndzimani, meaning struggle in Xhosa, signifies the struggle amongst them to express themselves freely and is indicative of how the need for religion and spirituality is in opposition to the desires of the flesh. A place meant for refuge is often seen by young people as the very reason many them feel oppressed, conflicted or marginalised—rejected even—because their lives don’t conform to the strict tenets of their beliefs written thousands of years ago that they now see as outdated, unmoving for the time they live in.

Rhulani Anthony is a multidisciplinary artist whose upbringing in the township of Tembisa has informed his outlook on the world greatly. Using primarily the visual mediums of photography, film his work in portrait, fashion and documentary photographer, digital and analog, has opened up opportunities that have seem him exhibit in Cape Town, Johannesburg and abroad. As a film director, a medium he considers the ‘holy grail’ of creativity where all aspects of art come together, Anthony is hyper vigilant of being a conduit for the stories of South Africans and Africans at large having worked with South African Tourism and Brand South Africa to win Loerie nominations and awards. His main body of work still centres largely around the larger Ekhuruleni Metropol that played such a major part in shaping the narratives of the people he was surrounded by, both South African and African at large. In recent years, opportunities to travel and extend his social documentary photography have taken him to far flung places such as Kenya, China, Germany and the United States. Rhulani’s work continues to challenge and evolve to tell simple but often underrepresented sectors of society and his focus continues to hone as his skills grow. One project at a time. One story at a time.


100 Hectares of Understanding by Jaakko Kahilaniemi

It’s impossible to overstate the significance of forests for Finland, both historically and economically. 71,6 % of the total area of the country is covered by forests — that’s over 26 million hectares. I own 100 hectares. 100 Hectares of Understanding is my attempt to understand the forest area I inherited 1997. Throughout adulthood, my relationship with the forest has been somewhat discordant and attitude towards my inheritance has been indifferent. Recent explorations in the forest, and in the world of forestry have managed to provoke my interest in unfamiliar inherited property of mine. I study what nature has to offer to urbanized people and I will try to create new ways of thinking and ways to experience and feel the forest. I capture nature through my lens before applying the alchemical process that makes art out of the familiar. I arbitrarily mix various types of pictures with each other and define them as part of a larger visual entity. I am working with the method of deconstruction, but rather than creating physical work out of the results of my private rituals in the forest, I unveil the result through the medium of photography. For the unknown to become familiar requires both physical and delicate acts: to nurture and to tame, to master and to yield. My photographs are testimonial, traces of my aspirations towards understanding and awareness. Photography, for me, is a gateway to the very core of my thoughts and imagination. I see similarities between my acts in the forest and walking artist Hamish Fulton’s walks, which he records with photographs and poems. Taking inspiration from Fluxus and the traditions of Arte Povera, I seek to encounter the forest with a playful and open approach. 100 Hectares of Understanding consists of the objects that I’ve found, the acts that I’ve photographed, the sculptures I’ve made and visual secrets that I have created.

Kahilaniemi was born in 1989 in Finland. He earned his BA in Photography from Turku Arts Academy (FI) in 2014 and his MA also in photography from Aalto University, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (FI) in 2018. Kahilaniemi has exhibited at Denver Art Museum the US, Voies Off Arles, Benaki Museum Athens, Klompching Gallery NYC, Robert Capa Center in Hungary, FOTOFLUSS Wolkersdorf, Fotografisk Center Copenhagen, Tampere Art Museum, Organ Vida Festival Zagreb, , Unseen Amsterdam, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Northern Photography Center Oulu 33rd Festival de Photographie Hyères, Fotofestiwal Łódź, Kunsthalle Memmingen, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Potentiale Festival Austria, OFF_Festival, Photo Is:rael, the Latvian Museum of Photography, the Finnish Museum of Photography, Kunst Haus Wien and others. Kahilaniemi is a recipient of the ING Unseen Talent Award (NL, 2018) and the Backlight Price (FI, 2017). Kahilaniemi was one of the selected Lens Culture Emerging Talents in 2017, and he also was one of the ten finalists in Hyéres Photo Festival and in Fotofestiwal Łódź in 2018. Kahilaniemi is one of the exhibiting artists in Festival Circulations (FR), Format Festival (UK) and Fotografia Europea (IT) in spring 2019. Kahilaniemi’s work has been featured in many publications, including Fisheye Magazine, Das Magazin, Eikon Magazine, Europe Now Journal, Fotografi Norway, GUP magazine, Greenpeace Magazine, Der Greif and HANT Magazine.


Jiang Nan: Changing Traditions in Western China by Boyuan Zhang

Xinjiang, a vast land located in the northwest of China, is where I was born. It used to known as the Western Regions for hundreds and thousands of years and is now a place where dozens of ethnic groups inhabit. I was born and raised there, but I am also a descendant of the Han ‘immigrants’. Many of my peers are the third generation of Xinjiang, with their grandparents’ first settlement due to political and economic reasons. While I was in the middle of terms of my abroad study, my homesick object was Xinjiang. I need a hometown to avoid my rootlessness. Drove along the river through the deserted land, from one city to another, I tried to reach to more people and establish the connection with them via photography. Although these connections were mostly short-lived and vulnerable, they undoubtedly helped me with healing the wounds. I want to make this place my homeland, and what I believe what I can do is to engrave the scenes and the faces on the films as well as in my heart.

Boyuan Zhang (born. 02/Feb/1993), Chinese photographer based in Beijing, born and raised in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Photojournalism and Documentary Photography MA student graduated from the London College of Communication in 2017.