Satellites  21 July until 8 October 2006

Photographs by Jonas Bendiksen

Jonas BendiksenNorwegian-born photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen (born 1977) spent five years travelling in the territories that fringe the former Soviet Republic. He photographed isolated communities, which since the fall of the USSR have been seeking to shape their own identity and independence. Observing with a haunting, yet unsentimental sensitivity, the young photographer takes us on an illuminating journey through the daily life of these little-known enclaves and frozen conflict on the edge of the former empire.

Bendiksen's pictures show among others the inhabitants of the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan, where Muslims are persecuted and forced to practice their religion under ground. In Birobidzhan (the Jewish Autonomous Region established under Stalin), he chronicles the exodus of Jews emigrating to Israel to escape poverty and loss of identity. One arresting series of photographs reveals a region in the Kazakh-Russian borderlands where broken parts of space craft crash and lie scattered upon the ground; poignant and surreal landscapes of cows stretched out dead in lush meadows, and thousands of butterflies flutter round the ruins of a rocket.

Also to be seen in the exhibition are photographs Bendiksen took in the Gaza strip before Israel withdrew in 2005. The Israelis are pictured in colour and the Palestinians in black and white; a telling commentary on the contrast and parallels between these two groups of people.

This is Bendiksen's first solo exhibition in a museum. The publishers Mets & Schilt have produced a book to accompany the show, bearing the same title, Satellites. Price € 39.90