Marwan Bassiouni (Swiss/U.S./Egyptian), a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (Netherlands), received the $4,000 grant for New Dutch Views, a statement that challenges the idea that there is only one national identity and that Islam is separate from The Netherlands. By photographing the Dutch landscape from inside Dutch mosques, Bassiouni invites viewers to literally step inside the perspective of a Muslim person and rediscover his or her own landscape.
“I feel overwhelmed, excited and honored to have been selected to receive this prestigious award, Marwan Bassiouni said. “What especially touched me was the jury’s comment that my work presented ‘a new paradigm in documentary photography for social change.’ This is the first time I have been recognized for taking my own path when making documentary photographs.”
“The Smith Fund board overwhelmingly voted to create a special grant that would encourage the conviction that photography is a potent vehicle for social change, and for an individual understanding and interpretation of complex cultural issues. The future of the medium is in their hands,” explained Stephen Frailey, Smith board member and sponsor of the student grant.
Project Description(submitted by photographer):
NEW DUTCH VIEWS
‘New Dutch Views’ is a series of photographs that blends the traditional genre of landscape photography with current political issues. By photographing the Dutch landscape from inside Dutch mosques, I wanted to invite a viewer to literally step inside the perspective of a Muslim person, and to rediscover his or her own landscape. Although the photographs are composites, they are actual documentations of Dutch mosque interiors and the views that their windows offer on the local surroundings.
The title ‘New Dutch Views’ is a statement that challenges the idea that there is but one national identity and that Islam is separate from the Netherlands. Islam is no longer foreign, it is now a part of the Dutch culture. Mosques in this country have developed a unique architecture that can only be found in the Netherlands. And there are now more than 500 of them.