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80 Days of Summer, Stories of Identity - a snapshot of Ghent’s latest cultural masterstroke

80 Days of Summer, Stories of Identity - a snapshot of Ghent’s latest cultural masterstroke

17 jun 201580 Days of Summer

The Ghent photo festival '80 Days of Summer, Stories of Identity', organized at ten different and amazing locations in the city, is one for the thinking family. A purely visual onslaught of creative talent which is both thought provoking and elegant. And although some of the images are harder hitting than others, nothing jars or offends, so, you could quite happily take the kids along.

For me the exhibition in St Peter’s Abbey, which I visited during the opening last week, was a terrific taster and a fantastic indication of the way in which the entire festival has been curated.  As I passed from display to display, I found myself enjoying the work but at the same time seeking out the expression of “identity” that spoke to me. I found it in Jen Davis’ collection of self-portraits.

Although I do not look like the artist, I understand what it means to question one’s visual appearance. I found this to be a body of work (no pun intended) that I could viscerally relate to!

It was interesting to observe other visitors pass some photos without much thought while being completely captivated the next moment by something that evidently impacted on them. And I think this will be the experience of everyone who attends. I am looking forward to visiting all of the festival’s locations over the next few days.

'80 Days of Summer, Stories of Identity' was born out of a need to showcase Ghent’s historic and emerging photo-documentation talent, and each site has been specifically chosen with this in mind. I was really impressed by the quality of the work on display, everything felt authentic and intelligent rather than stereotypical. Work such as that by Bieke Depoorter who directed artists in South Africa born after Apartheid showcased a familiar theme in a way that was fresh, exciting, and interesting.

For me the festival is unmissible, and shows why Ghent continues to be such an essential and popular cultural destination.

This festival's first edition is a collaboration between Historische Huizen Gent, Amsab-ISH, the City Library, the Museum Dr. Guislain, and the STAM City Museum. For further information about the event, locations, times, and prices click the link 80 Days of Summer Ghent

Do you want to take a quick look already? Click here.

 

 

80 Days of Summer