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Striking images reflect wax and wane of major cities

Striking images reflect wax and wane of major cities

A large photographic exhibition by eighteen German photographers, opened this week in the National Arts Gallery in Windhoek. Facsimile versions of the same work are exhibited concurrently at the Goethe Institute, the Namibia University of Science and Technology and the Katutura Community Art Centre.

Titled “The City – Becoming and Decaying”, the exhibition consists of works by photographers from the renowned German agency Ostkreuz. These photographs were taken over a period of two years by the agency’s 18 photographers travelling to 22 countries documenting their biggest cities.

The exhibition has been touring internationally since 2010.

It brings together images from around the world of a city’s growth and decay. They show how the city of Ordos, in China, is springing up in the middle of the steppes and how Pripyat, in Ukraine, is being taken over again by nature; how the city of Lagos, in Nigeria, is expanding uncontrollably in its tangled growth; how the city of Manila is clustering into slums, and how Detroit, in the United States, is decaying at its core; how Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, can barely keep up with its own growth, and how the city of Gaza, in Palestine, is being leveled to the ground; how the city of Las Vegas lives from appearance, Auroville from ideals, and Atlantis as myth.

Ostkreuz is the name of a railway station in Berlin where seven men and seven women came together in 1990 to form an agency for photographers. Today Ostkreuz is the most successful photographer-run agency in Germany. It has eighteen members. Almost every one of them has been honoured with a national or international prize. They come from all regions of Germany and from other countries. The youngest is in his mid-twenties, the oldest in her mid-sixties. Each sees the world through different eyes; each is interested in something different the world holds; each is heading in a different direction. But there is a point where they all set out from and where they always reconvene. This point is called Ostkreuz.

The Ostkreuz members are Sibylle Bergemann, Jörg Brüggemann, Espen Eichhöfer, Annette Hauschild, Harald Hauswald, Pepa Hristova, Andrej Krementschouk, Ute Mahler, Werner Mahler, Dawin Meckel, Julian Röder, Thomas Meyer, Frank Schinski, Jordis Antonia Schlösser, Anne Schönharting, Linn Schröder, Heinrich Völkel and Maurice Weiss.

The exhibitions runs until 29 April 2017.

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