BijlmAIR - Linda-Maria Birbeck
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As a part of BijlmAIR, SMBA's artist-in-residence project in cooperation with the Centre for Visual Art (CBK) Zuidoost in the South-east district of Amsterdam, the photographer Linda-Maria Birbeck is presently working in the guest studio in de Millingenhof. For her closing presentation in October in the CBK, she will be making a series of portraits of asylum seekers and their families who are living in the Bijlmer. The nearby IKEA furniture and domestic furnishings mega-store will function as the setting for these portraits. Its comfortable demonstration rooms, bursting with fashionable items that most economic refugees could hardly dream of, are a sharp contrast with their actual accommodations (Birbeck previously did a photo report on a refugee family in Utrecht). Their problems can be understood as the flip side of the same globalisation that has made IKEA a multinational chain.
Earlier this year Birbeck's work was seen in the group exhibition ‘Capricious. Young Photographers’ in SMBA. She was chosen for BijlmAIR by the selection committee because of her plan to record the various religious communities in the Bijlmer in their temporary accommodations. It appeared however that this would take much more time than had been anticipated, chiefly because Birbeck always searches for a combination of the photogenic, apparently staged image and the wrenching, frayed edges of society. Her BijlmAIR closing presentation will take place in October.