Universiteit Leiden

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Arts and culture | Fototentoonstelling

Photo exhibition 'People of Leiden'

Friday 11 November 2022 - Friday 27 January 2023
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
1st floor
The Art Committee FSW has chosen this picture of Henk-Jan for the faculty's art collection.

This exhibition is an initiative of the Art Committee FSW in collaboration with the Amateur Photography Association of Leiden (LAFV). The photographers went to work with the theme of the Art Committee of the faculty, which also made the selection of works for ‘People of Leiden’.

Theme: People of Leiden

This can be concrete, for example a portrait of a market vendor at the market of Leiden. Or taking the abstract route, for example capturing the trash stalled outside before the township’s cleaning service comes by, or the trash bins themselves. Then there are of course the students of Leiden in the Hortus or the cortège of professors during the opening of the academic year. Or the citizens of Leiden on the streets or the behind the geraniums.

From the novice to the professional

The Amateur Photography Association of Leiden (LAFV) is an active photographic collective that looks with open gaze and sentimental heart at the city. Founded in 1922, they continue to be a meeting point for passionate amateur photographers for 100 years and counting. The collective counts around 80 members, from the novice to the professional. 

We hope you enjoy the exhibition, on behalf of the LAFV!

A small selection

Ans de Rooij is a  Mandarin lecturer at the Chinese Studies programme of  Leiden University. Living with her three kids in a terraced house in a simple street in Leiden, they do not appear to be very special on the surface. But to me, nothing is less true. Ans is the (co-)author of a two-part textbook teaching Chinese to middle and high schools. Her positive passion for both the language and culture, and her ability to relate to others makes her a well-beloved teacher. For me as well, Ans and her family are very special. They are very open folk. There is always place at their table, where everyone of all ages converses, draws, colors, and makes music. The people that they have helped throughout the years with integrating become almost part of their family. She was the first that warmly welcomed our family 16 years ago as new neighbours with a merry card filled with drawings. Ans is a special aesthetic of colours and meaningful items. I took her picture in her study at her house – with her radiant smile that is all too familiar to me.

Michael was born on 1 January 1985 in Leiden – so he is currently 37 years old. He recently moved to Noordwijk, but you can rest assured that he is a Leidenaar. In my experience, I have seen him for more than 10 years at the Central Railway Station. Thus, I took his picture at the bike stalls near the station. He always asks me for some money. Yesterday as well, to buy some milk. I wanted to give him some, but I did not have any cash on me. Most people ignore him. Some will make the effort to say ‘No, sorry’ and a few will give a euro. With an empty gaze and a euro in hand, he then turns around and tries his luck with the next passer-by. 

Michael tells me in clear speech that he was once an addict. But not anymore. I ask him what makes him special. He answers that everyone is special, but in his case, it is his schizophrenia. He sees and hears things that others do not see or hear. Yes, at times this bothers him, he tells me. Scary things. Mutated people. A lot of things pertaining to death. People that are no longer with us. That is what he finds scary. What will he do today? Maybe he will visit some friends at the Boshuizerkade. He comes there often. Beyond that, he does not know. 

Suresh Giasi is the owner of an Indian and Tropical Market at the Langegracht in Leiden. He has been running his store for more than 25 years. Around the time of its opening my mother visited the place and later, I started stopping by as well. Not often – but sometimes. Meanwhile, my mother has passed away and whenever I now do visit the store, Suresh always speaks fondly of my mother and says that he can almost still see her come in. How proudly she spoke of me. She exaggerated.

Suresh’s store is not too big, but he has an astonishingly lot. At least when it comes to the Surinamese kitchen, I have never left empty handed. Recently I bought some bakkeljauw, yardlong beans, sweet potato, ripe bananas, pepper, cassava… However, the ingredients are not the most important reason for me to go the Indian and Tropical Market. I always get good advice. “What do you want to do with the cassava? Bake it? In that case, you can better use this” “At the end, add a bit of scorched or jacked up cumin spice with the masala chicken. It is delicious!”

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