FOTODOK’s talent program, Lighthouse, grants a unique opportunity to ten emerging talents selected by a panel of judges. These individuals are given the chance to cultivate new project proposals with comprehensive support spanning six months. This support encompasses not only practical and financial assistance but also guidance from a diverse array of experts, the FOTODOK team, and their fellow participants. Throughout this process, all program participants receive valuable feedback on both their visual and written project proposals. Additionally they are provided with an exclusive platform to present their projects to experts, potential funders and new collaborators.
The jury for the program’s fifth edition, comprising Dunya Zita (a photographer/filmmaker and former Lighthouse participant), Fiepke van Niel (an art historian and curator, including at Museum Hilversum), and Lisanne van Happen (Head of Talent Development at FOTODOK), meticulously evaluated all submissions and selected the following ten promising photographers: Noor Boiten, Lara Daams, Meike Driessen, Ana Francisco, Naomi van Kleef, Pritam Mitra, Lea Novi, MAryam Touzani, Ilse Weeteling, and Simone Wenth.
The final selection has been carefully curated with the aim of creating a collective that surpasses the individual talents involved. It is rooted in the diverse skills and abilities of the artists, with the intention that each contributor can both enrich the program and benefit from it. The jury has full confidence in this group of artists and celebrates the richness of their varied backgrounds, themes, approaches, cultures, and visual styles that converge in this edition of Lighthouse. While motivation was the initial criterion for selecting these ten artists, artistic excellence and professionalism were also significant considerations.
These ten artists are dedicated to exploring the creation of new narratives that incorporate various perspectives, empowering the subjects of their work and fostering a meaningful connection with their audience. They do so through a multimedia approach, experimenting with diverse mediums and archival materials.
Noor Boiten is a visual artist who works with mixed-media video installations. They draw inspiration from our relationship to our (non)physical and digital environment, and the objects, people or ideas we interact with in those spaces. Themes like gender identity, consumerism and internet-culture play an important role in their practice. Their work is intermediary and medium-fluid, so that it is flexible and can change along with them, their personal development and their immediate environment. They combine elements from sculpture, video, text, 3D animation and photography with which they investigate the impact of digital culture on contemporary debates. During Lighthouse Noor wants to further develop their artistic research in the form of an essay publication. Both for themselves to gain a better grip on their personal identity and to present a published manifesto on queer philosophy and art to an audience that is looking for further education on this topic.
Culture. That is what Lara Daams is concerned with. From her Indo-European background, she is fascinated by culture and customs that are passed on from generation to generation, and also how this culture changes through this passing on from generation to generation. Through photography and cinematic photography she wants to make space for the colonial past and contribute to the decolonization movement. Her next step is to seek out the Indo-European people who remained behind after the independence of Indonesia in order to also look for a different perspective. Lighthouse is the perfect opportunity to find out how she will achieve this.
Loneliness, isolation, trauma and identity are themes that Meike Driessen likes to explore. She captures, reconstructs and manipulates environments that reflect dark and lonely aspects of the human mind. By doing so, she highlights the paradoxical interplay between familiarity and discomfort. Learning from an early age how to independently navigate ups and downs has taught her a deep sense of introspection. She is interested in the ways our internal emotions contradict, coexist, sabotage, and withdraw. Through various media she wants to stimulate the senses and create an immersive, emotional experience. During lighthouse she wants to explore more time-based installation art, the interaction between lens-based media and space and the influence of spatiality on emotional experiences.
Ana Francisco delves into the intricate interplay between sociocultural factors, identity, and the human experience in her artistic inquiries. Her work stands out for its portrayal of inner states that evoke a distinct sense of otherness. With a background in neurosciences, she displays a particular fascination with unraveling the social stigma associated with mental health conditions, employing participatory image-making techniques. As part of her engagement with the Lighthouse program, Ana will embark on an exploration of the taboo surrounding the mental well- being of Dutch farmers. Her aim is to restore their agency and empower them to reclaim control over their narratives, free from the influence of political representations that have often cast them as symbols of a system’s failure.
Naomi van Kleef is currently working on her project titled “A Woman’s Vanishing Point”, a multimedia endeavor encompassing a film, a poetry book, and a textile piece. This work revolves around the theme of disappearance in the context of mourning. Naomi’s primary focus lies in uncovering and amplifying women’s stories, involving extensive research, archiving and giving voice to female narratives that delve into the past, with an interest into intergenerational connections and the act of breaking through societal barriers and silences.
This commitment to storytelling and empowerment drives her interest in adopting a multimedia approach for her projects, incorporating elements such as ethnographic research, theatre, photography, video, sound recordings and live performances. Naomi employs the power of the voice as a tool to convey narratives, enabling individuals to reclaim their right to participation, interpretation, and subjectivity. She views the Lighthouse program as a valuable platform to nurture a sustainable artistic practice, while working on the post-production & distribution of the film and looking for a possible publication of the related poetry book.
Pritam Mitra is an artist who finds joy in creating. His work is inspired by nature, especially trees. His art explores distorted realities and the ways in which humans interact with the natural world. He explores the crisis of urban lifestyles, environmental degradation, migration challenges and the pervasive influence of corporate culture. Through his work he aims to shed light on these pressing issues and delve into their complexity. His goal within lighthouse is to reinvigorate our connection with nature and promote a renewed relationship with the natural world. He will do this by further developing his ongoing ‘silver moon’ project.
Lea Novi´s work delves into the complex interaction between human behavior and the endangerment and extinction of other species, advocating for learning from and alongside nature. Through the use of archive pictures, text, sound, video, cyanotype and documentary photography, Lea has crafted a project that explores the effects of global warming on the Zugspitze mountain. Her narrative incorporates a range of characters, spanning both human and nonhuman perspectives, inviting us to exercise our imagination in envisioning alternative futures. For Lea, the Lighthouse program serves as a space for personal growth, input, inquiry, and knowledge sharing. During her participation in the program, she will focus on developing a book and organizing an event to create a space to mourn and reflect on the disappearance of the glacier on the mountain.
As a child of immigrants, MAryam Touzani‘s identity as a storyteller is characterized by a unique sense of “in-betweenness,” which results in a feeling of cultural displacement. Instead of merely documenting, she actively creates narratives, offering individuals from similar backgrounds a sense of belonging. Her artistic practice combines photography series with text, with a central focus on understanding identity and its impact on an individual’s role within society. During her participation in the Lighthouse program, MAryam intends to further develop her graduation project, exploring how to enhance her verbal assertiveness to better connect with her target audience. She views this program as a pathway to personal growth and development, one that will enable her to make meaningful contributions to society.
Ilse Weetelings’ work is an ode to women. Strength and vulnerability, distance and intimacy, desire and doubt: apparent contradictions that go hand in hand and work as a source of inspiration and starting point for research. Her intuitive and connecting way of working ensures that she comes close to her subject, creating authentic and moving images. Initially, her photography serves as a personal search regarding intimate feelings, thoughts and dreams, which is why her images can in a certain sense be considered as self-portraits. On the other hand, by using socially relevant and universal themes the viewer is also invited to self-reflection. Within Lighthouse she continues with her graduation project ‘Milk and Honey’, a project about her search for motherhood.
Simone Wenth‘s upbringing as a ‘border-girl’ in a village along the Austrian-Slovakian border, made her quickly cultivate a penchant for critical thinking and questioning established structures. This background nurtured her strong sense of empathy and a keen interest in understanding ‘the other side’. Her research centers on examining how historical events and power dynamics have molded our lives. Simone’s artistic practice engages with its audience through a multifaceted approach that incorporates archival materials, videos, comics, text, and photos to construct narratives that resonate deeply. Throughout her participation in the program, she plans to expand her graduation project “blurred line, hard cut” into new formats, to challenge the myths and stories surrounding borders, and to address the often underrepresented female narrative, with the ultimate goal of fostering connections rather than divisions.