Gaddafi and Assad: the party pics

The power of photography explored in as a new exhibition delves into the archives of dictators and their discontents

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Propaganda Posters of Bashar al-Assad in a shop in Damascus, Damascus 2007 Nicolas Righetti

Delving into the photographic archives of Muammar Gaddafi, The FotoMuseum in Antwerp presents a new exhibition focusing on the power of photography in political regimes during recent events in the Arab world. Used as the ultimate tool in propaganda for leaders in authoritarian regimes, the deployment of photography also proves to be an important weapon for the people during a revolution.

Entitled Power! Photos! Freedom!, here the extensive Gaddafi archives are complemented by the work of artists and photographers from Syria, Egypt and Tunisia, including the influential: Issa Touma, Florian Göttke, Hrair Sarkissian, Nermine Hammam, Joachim Ben Yakoub and Marco Bohr. Alongside, are photos taken from the civil journalism collective Mosireen (Egypt) and Facebook group 'Uprising of Women in the Arab World'.

The curator, Joachim Naudts explains: “The power of photography becomes evident while looking at the way dictators used this medium to their own advantage” ... “Arab Spring or Arab Winter, all seasons have been used to name the uprisings. But winter or spring, freedom is the clarion call that is echoing around the halls of politics, around your own living room and, of course, within the frame of a photograph.”

Photos courtesy of Nicolas' Righetti's 'Yes To a Rosy Future'

Power! Photos! Freedom! opens alongside the launch of two other new exhibitions at Antwerp's FotoMuseum, Charles Fréger – Wilder Mann and Camera Exotica, a selection from the FoMu Collection. From 15 February 13 – 9th June 13; FotoMuseum, Waalsekaai 47, 2000 Antwerp.

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