Hashem el Madani: Promenades

An ongoing project by Akram Zaatari
Caixa Forum, Barcelona, Spain
2006/10  -  2007/02

This exhibition introduces the second chapter of the Madani project* entitled Hashem El Madani: Promenades. It is an exploration of photography's ties to urban spaces, particularly in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when lightweight cameras enabled itinerant photographers to walk around cities offering their services to people on the street. The exhibition focuses mainly on two public spaces known as places for promenade: the green fields around the train track in Ain El Helweh, in the southeast end of Saida, and the Bahr el Eid festivities held at the fisherman's port during the Muslim holy days of the Adha and the Fitr.


As a footnote to Promenades, the exhibition also present excerpts from Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices, which was the first chapter of this project, and which studied conventions that shaped the making of studio portraiture. It focused on the studio as a space for play in a socially conservative society such as Saida in the 1950s and 1960s.


* The Madani Project takes the photographic archive of studio Shehrazade as study material to understand the complex relationship, which ties a studio photographer to his working space, his equipments and tools, economy, and aesthetics, and further explore his relationship to his clients, the society, and the city in general.


Initiated by Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation, the project meets -on one hand- Zaatari's interest in living situations, that testify on modern traditions and complex social relationships, and on the other hand the Arab image Foundation's commitment to preserving, indexing and studying photographic collections in the Arab world. The Madani Project takes shape in a series of thematic exhibitions, publications, and videos centered on photographer Hashem el Madani (1928 - ) and his work.


The processing and management of the Madani archive was done in partnership with The Prince Claus Fund.

Project partners for this exhibition included Caixa Forum, Barcelona, SK/Die Photographische Sammlung, Koln, and Musée Nicéphore Niepce, Chalon sur Soane.

A catalogue was published by La Caixa Foundation to coincide with the exhibition.

Exhibition Itinerary:

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