Mexico Megalopolis

This year the festival focuses on one of its most glorious and dramatic cities: Mexico City. In the 16th century already Tenochtitlan was one of the largest cities in the world with an estimated population of 300.000 residents. Compared to Europe, only Paris, Venice and Constantinople might have rivaled it. It was five times the size of the contemporary London of Henry VIII. Today Mexico City, the former Tenochtitlan counts 25 million people and is one of the largest metropolises in the world.

A century ago, just 10 percent of the world lived in cities. By 2050, as many as 75 percent of us will. The prospect of such an enormous urban boom in just a few generations offers a critical opportunity: to create cities that will improve, not diminish, the standards of living for millions of new city dwellers. Observing Mexico, a Mega City in the ‘Third World’,  means partly looking in the future. The challenges of Mexico City are those of many other cities that will follow in the coming decennia in different places in the world, also in Europe.

This exhibition brings an image of Mexico City and contetualizes this megacity in the reality of a country that continuous to expand, but still faces many challenges. Both Mexican and Western photographers captured the problems of the country such as; violence, migration, urbanisation, social polarization or spatial segregation. But they also show the carrying capacity of the Mexicans, their national pride and political awareness. These are factors that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of Mexico City.

Participating photographers are: Graciela Iturbide, Pablo López Luz, Yvonne Venegas, Maya Goded, Mark Alor Powell, Alejandro Cartagena, Adela Goldbard, Mauricio Palos, Olivo Barbieri, Martin Roemers, Melba Arellano, Livia Corona Benjamin, Sébastien Van Malleghem, Lara Gasparotto, An-Sofie Kesteleyn en Gert Verbelen.

Graciela Iturbide

For this edition Graciela Iturbide has been invited as the festival ambassador. Iturbide °1942, Mexico) is considered one of the most important and influential Latin American photographers of the past four decades. Her photography is of the biggest visual strength and beauty. Graciela Iturbide has developed a photographic style based on her strong interest in culture, ritual and everyday life in her native country Mexico and other countries. Iturbide explores the relationships between man and nature, the individual and the cultural, the real and the psychological. She continues to inspire a younger generation of photographers in Latin America and beyond.

She has enjoyed solo exhibitions at museums in Mexico, the US and Europe and books of her work have been published internationally. Iturbide is recipient of numerous prizes including W. Eugene Smith Memorial Foundation Award; the grand prize for the Mois de la Photographie in Paris; the Hugo Erfurth Award in Leverkusen Germany; the international Grand Prize in Hokkaido, Japan; Les Recontres Internationales de la Photographie Award from the City of Arles, France; the Guggenheim Fellowship; the Hasselblad Award; and the international Prize of Sciences and Arts in Mexico City. In 2014 the national council of the Arts in Mexico organized a Hommage for her achievements in photography, which was accompanied by an academic degree at the Art Academia of the Arts. Iturbide was the recipient of the Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Infinity Award 2015.