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Head On unveils 20 major exhibitions

The wonderful Head On Photo Festival, showing across Sydney from May 2 – 17, has revealed the first 20 exhibitions from the Core Program.

Showing at Head On Photo Festival 2020 is Brian Hodges’ After the War – Northern Uganda. Source: Supplied.

Head On will return to its home in Paddington, with the Festival Hub at Paddington Town Hall and a major exhibition space over the road at the Reservoir Gardens. For the first time the event will host open-air exhibitions along the iconic Bondi Beach boardwalk.

The 11th edition of the festival will once again bring an eclectic mix of photography to Australian shores, by renowned and upcoming international and local photographers.

‘Head On’s international scope and agility as an independent organisation allow us to present world class exhibitions that place the work of established Australian and internationally recognised artists alongside those of emerging talent,’ said Head On festival director, Moshe Rosenzveig OAM. ‘Our 2020 headline exhibitions promise, as always, an incredible banquet of topical themes that are deeply relevant to our everyday lives.’

Here’s an overview of the 20 Core Program exhibitions.

The Festival Hub at Paddington Town Hall
Mythological Imaginings by Guatemalan economist and artist Astrid Blazsek-Ayala considers the impact of cultural exchange through images of large-scale piñatas of Greek mythological figures, created in collaboration with local Guatemalan craftsmen;
Paper Tigers is a homage to contemporary Australian photojournalism; curated for this year’s festival by Moshe Rosenzveig OAM this exhibition features 30 Australian photojournalists and their most memorable work;
Neo Pride by Australian photojournalist Jake Nowakowski chronicles Melbourne’s violent race rallies and the rise of and response to far right/anti-immigration group from 2014 to 2018;
In UnKnowing…X, award-winning British photographer Professor Richard Sawdon Smith uses creative costuming to invent new hybrid identities that play with gender, sexuality and subjectivity;
– Australian artist Ahmad Sabra’s video work F@#$ the Fr@#$% uses spoken word, subtitles and the French national anthem to subvert stereotypical views of Muslims in Australia.

From the series, Neo Pride. Photo: Jake Nowakowski

Bondi Beach
– Australian photographer Matt Smith’s Untitled uses underwater photography to showcase the diverse marine life from Bondi Beach and the surrounding coastline;
– Award-winning German documentarian and photographer Robert Harding Pittman’s Coal Scapes questions the coal industry in Germany and social cost of energy;
Sanctuary by Australian photographer Ian Bickerstaff shines a light on the relationships developed between orphaned primates and their carers at a rehabilitation centre in Cameroon.

A Pacific Man of War siphonophores, better known as a blue bottle, captured during the 2019 NSW summer bushfires, from the series Untitled, by Matt Smith.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens
– Celebrated French photographer Vee Speers’ The Birthday Party eternalises the last days of childhood with painterly portraits that are at once hauntingly beautiful and provocative;
Transformation Wall by Greek photographer Nikolaos Menoudarakos unpacks the intersection of raw reality and fantasy in the drag queen scene of Athens;
Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor is a powerful series by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Renée C Byer who travelled across four continents capturing the human faces of people living on about one US dollar a day;
Shanghai: Decadence with Chinese Characteristics by two-time Walkley Award-winning photographer Dave Tacon explores Shanghai’s nightclubs as a stage to flaunt extreme wealth;

From the series Transformation Wall by Nikolaos Menoudarakos.

NSW Parliament House
For Then and Now by Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation’s photographer-in-residence Jimmy Pozarik revisits 25 patients from past projects, sharing unique moments from their hospital experience as children and where they are today;
WaterMarks by Australian photographer Paul Harmon captures the Murray-Darling River floodplains from the air revealing their beauty alongside ugly truths of stolen land and environmental degradation.

From the series WaterMarks by Paul Harmon

Delmar Gallery
– Award-winning Polish photographer Anna Bedynska’s series Clothes for Death presents portraits of individuals alongside images of their burial clothes in a tender exploration of legacy;
The art of aging by Canadian photographer Arianne Clément is a photo story that illustrates the beauty and sensuality in women aged 70 and over.

Taken from the series The art of aging by Canadian photographer Arianne Clément

Gaffa Gallery
– Australian-based American photographer Brian Hodges’ After the war – Northern Uganda celebrates the resilient human spirit and the area’s rejuvenation after decades of hostilities;
– In his vibrant exhibition Wigstock, Canadian photographer Pierre Dalpé offers a glimpse into the fabulousness of drag and disguise at the iconic New York City drag festival of the same name.

From the series Wigstock by Pierre Dalpé.

Other highlights of the 2020 Festival include
– Internationally acclaimed exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to The Maritime Museum celebrating the diversity of the natural world;
Richard and Famous documents 25 years of Richard Simpkins’ life in photos with celebrities including Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift and Bono.

– The Head On Photo Festival runs across Sydney in from May 2 – 17. Click here to visit the website.

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