German photographer Klinke’s first Canadian solo exhibition for CONTACT photography festival is a collection of images exploring the traditions of the Huastec people of eastern Mexico, and Onam, an annual harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, India.
German photographer Iwajla Klinke’s first Canadian solo exhibition is a collection of images exploring the traditions of the Huastec people of Eastern Mexico and the Onam an annual harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, India. While the artist’s photographs look into the anthropological world of ritual, highlighting costume and culture, the images are also poignant portraits of the participants. Standing against a dark background, the lone figures are empowered, conjuring associations to the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio.
Born in Greifswald, Germany, Klinke studied art history, Islamic and Jewish studies at the Free University, Berlin, graduating in 2002. Recent solo exhibitions include Infantes, Museum Haus Lowenberg, Gengenbach; Oneironauts, Galerie Voss, Dusseldorf; Palindrom, Stadtische Galerie, Bad Reichenhall and Infantes, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris (2017). Her 2018 group exhibitions include Gates of Horn and Ivory, Kristin Hjellegjerde, Berlin; Ein Gemachter Mensch, Kallmann Museum, Munich (both 2018) and Collection Neuflize, Paris (2017). In 2014 she was the recipient of the Neuflize OBC Personnel Prize.
Coming from a fascination for the sacred and how it manifests itself in intangible rituals and traditional garbs, Klinke began photographing children in ceremonial dress in rural European regions in 2010. A simple black backdrop and soft natural light bring out the incredibly detailed attire or simplicity of a plain dress. This lighting technique allows the portrayed children and their ritual robes to be the sole focus of the observer. Going against the trends in contemporary photography, Klinke refuses to retouch her images, adding to the timeless aura of her portraits.