Photographies of Conflict

A series of exhibitions with artists and collectives who use photography to contest dominant visual narratives of conflicts


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions



Eduardo Cadava, Aaron Levy


Keyla Cavdar


Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at Penn

Opens to public



4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce Photographies of Conflict, a two-year exhibition cycle that brings together artists and artist collectives who use photography to contest dominant visual narratives of conflicts, beginning Fall 2018.

Though most of these exhibitions have a clear geographic focus, Photographies of Conflict will position them in a way that views "struggle" as less tied to a specific site or issue, and more responsive to contemporary discourses on art, resistance and memorialization. With these different iterations, our goal is to posit photography and photojournalism as a means of engaging, recording, and perhaps helping us imagine how we might overcome conflict, or at least understand it better. We will trace the way in which these projects offer a means of imagining where bodies and minds at risk might feel emboldened to assert their place in the public sphere, and a means of exploring the central role that photographic media play in our understanding of the world in general. In particular, and in relation to each of these different exhibitions, Photographies of Conflict seeks to make evident the refractive lens through which we see conflict, skewed as it always is by historical contingencies, race, class, and gender.

Photographies of Conflict is generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. The series is collaboratively organized by Eduardo Cadava and Aaron Levy together with the participating artists and artist collectives.

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The series will open in September with Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography, an experimental exhibition by photographer Susan Meiselas and collaborators Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Eward, Leigh Raiford, and Laura Wexler. The project will engage issues of collaboration within the history of photography, and the role of photography within the documentation of conflict.

The practice of archivization and preservation and the history of collective documentary work will be taken up in exhibitions to follow. Photography in Crisis: Depression Era, 2011-2019 features the work of Depression Era, an interdisciplinary collective that records and intervenes in social transformations in Greece in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. This work will be presented alongside Allan Sekula's "Waiting for the Tear Gas" (1999), a project which documents the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization and also addresses the devastating consequences of global capital in deepening humanitarian crises around the globe.

Next, we will present The Image-Event: A Joint Struggle, a collaboration that explores the works and archives of photography collectives such as Activestills. Activestills is a group of photographers engaging struggles against oppression, racism, and discrimination in the Israel/Palestine region and beyond.

The series concludes with Exposure, a solo exhibition by Fazal Sheikh documenting Bears Ears National Monument, and the issues of public land exploitation in Utah and indigenous autonomy. Presented in partnership with Princeton University, Sheikh's work documents Utah's long and troubled history of using public lands for uranium and coal mining, the drilling for oil and gas, and the destruction of desert ecosystems by off-road vehicles. The project aims to show what the future of protected lands such as Bears Ears could be if Donald J. Trump lifts its monument status.

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