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


The Image-Event: A Joint Struggle

An exhibition revisiting the photographic archive of the Activestills Collective

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

Organizing Institutions



Vered Maimon, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor and Haidi Motola


The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce The Image-Event: A Joint Struggle, an exhibition from February 22, 2019 to April 30, 2019 that features the archive of the photographic collective Activestills. An opening reception will take place on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 6-9pm, with a conversation featuring Vered Maimon, Paul Weinberg, Ahmad al-Bazz, and Shiraz Grinbaum at 7pm.

Working in Palestine/Israel since 2005, the collective is comprised of Palestinian, Israeli, and international activist-photographers. The collective works to advocate against the most blatant attack on human rights and freedom within these borders. In addition, Activestills covers various topics including women's rights, LGTBQI rights, migrant-workers' rights, refugees' struggle for recognition, animal rights and other struggles for freedom and equality.

Activestills' archive is conceived as a shared archive, as emphasized in the collective's official statement: "Our collective is based upon the belief that mutual work serves each photographer's personal expression, and that joint projects create powerful shared statements. We believe that the photos we take belong to those whose struggles are documented, and so we share our archive with different activist groups." The photographers of Activestills see themselves as activists, journalists and witnesses, promoting human rights and fighting against racism and inequality. The reality captured in their photographs is from the vantage point of the subjugated person. Yet, the person who suffers discrimination and dispossession is not presented as a passive victim, but as an active subject fighting individually and collectively for rights that are denied to his.her community.

The exhibition emphasizes how the images produced by Activestills emerged from close collaborations with specific communities and organizations, working against political consensus. On the one hand, it focuses on long-term documentary projects in which photographers expose different centralized colonist segregation and separation strategies such as land dispossession, house demolitions, relocations, forced removals, movement restrictions, and economic exploitation. On the other hand, it profiles the consistent commitment to documentation by the collective of major and minor acts of resistance often beyond the headlines of demonstrations, direct actions and funeral processions. It also points to the way the collective's images were used for publication and advocacy; displayed in exhibitions within the sites of struggle; in public spaces; and circulated in different platforms as a way to propagate the struggle beyond the confines of oppressed communities.

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The Image-Event: A Joint Struggle focuses on different forms of visual activism in which photographic witnessing is turned into political action. Within the collective's frame-work, the emphasis is not simply on the joint production of images as means of representation, but on their status as tokens of exchange and dissemination within specific visual economies.

Activestills's practices of intervention position viewers, photographed subjects, and photographers along an axis that locates them all as ethically response-able partners, who co-create image-events that are intrinsically participatory in the struggle for political change. With this exhibition, we hope to inspire contemporary forms of resistance against inequality and violence by pointing out that the public sphere of appearance and the struggle for freedom are inseparable.

The term "Struggle Photography", often associated with the work of Activestills and other political collectives, denotes a photographic practice that is meant to challenge notions of "objectivity" and "neutrality" in photojournalism and documentary photography, as well as the communicative rational ideal of public space as grounded on equality and transparency. It lays bare the aim of the photographers' actions, not just to "impartially" document the conflicts between oppressors and their victims, but to alert, persuade, and elicit support for specific oppressed communities.

Activestills members who have contributed to this exhibition include Ahmad Al-Bazz, Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor, Haidi Motola, Anne Paq, Shachaf Polakow, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen, Tess Scheflan, Oren Ziv, Ezz Zanoun, Mohammed Zanoun, and Maria Zreik.

"We believe in the power of images to shape public attitudes and raise awareness on issues that are generally absent from public discourse. We view ourselves as part of the struggle against all forms of oppression, racism, and violations of the basic right to freedom."

-- Activestills collective, 2005

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