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Albert Meijer
Role
Advisor Culture - Creative Europe
Email
a.meijer [at] dutchculture.nl
 

Creative Europe projects: Daniel Szalai and the BredaPhoto International Talent programme

Creative Europe projects: Daniel Szalai and the BredaPhoto International Talent programme

Photography festival BredaPhoto works with European art academies to offer a platform to young photographers.
By Albert Meijer

The publication Creative Europe 2014 - 2020 gives an overview of the Dutch participation in the Creative Europe programme during this period. It not only shows the relevant statistics but also offers background information to the projects that were funded under this initiative. BredaPhoto International Talent Programme is one of the successful projects. Photographer Daniel Szalai was one of the talented individuals supported by this programme.

Does technology save or destroy lives?

"In 2017 I was a photography student at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. All the photography students at the universities that took part in the project were asked to create a work within the theme of Infinity and Beyond, addressing the question whether technology saves lives or destroys lives. We were free to decide our own approach. The university selected my project for the long list. The curators visited the university and asked me to pitch my project personally in Brussels. I, together with thirteen others, was eventually invited to set up an exhibition in Breda for the BredaPhoto Festival. The production costs were paid by BredaPhoto, which was quite an investment in my case since I had more than 160 large portraits printed for my photography project Novogen."

This proved to be a real springboard for me as an artist. BredaPhoto was followed by approximately fifteen shows worldwide. This was truly fantastic and heralded the start of my career as an international photographer
A tribute to chickens

"Before I became a photographer I studied art and design theory and worked for a commercial film producer. My interest in theory and my disappointment in capitalism led to an interest in chickens. For me, the chicken symbolises capitalism. We have turned this animal into a mechanised protein production chain and I gradually discovered that chickens are also used for pharmaceutical purposes. The chickens are genetically modified so that their proteins can be used as vaccination ingredients against viruses. My Novogen
project is a tribute to the invisible, life-saving work of these chickens. This is why I took 160 individual portraits of white chickens accompanied by a series of photos documenting the production process."

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Daniel Szalai. Photo: Anna Bodoky
Caption
Daniel Szalai. Photo: Anna Bodoky
Authors
Anna Bodoky
Springboard

"This proved to be a real springboard for me as an artist. BredaPhoto was followed by approximately fifteen shows worldwide. This was truly fantastic and heralded the start of my career as an international photographer. I had had a number of small exhibitions in Budapest, but after BredaPhoto my work was exhibited in places such as China, Paris, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece etc. This would never have happened without BredaPhoto and the resulting exposure!

I have also seen other artists who were selected by BredaPhoto become successful, but I do sometimes feel that I am in a privileged situation where my work gets lots of attention. I am extremely grateful for this. I had not planned to make ‘catchy’ work but it turned out that people really liked the chickens.  

Since this commission, I have started to focus on the animal-human relationship and how humans manipulate the environment. My Novogen project was followed by a project about pigeons and I am currently working on a cow project. I have also started to experiment more with installations and other work. And I recently started a crowdfunding campaign to help me turn Novogen into a book, in collaboration with a Dutch publisher, The Eriskay Connection. This project is more topical than ever as a result of the corona pandemic. Since travel opportunities to exhibit my work are limited at the moment, it would be ideal if I could publish the project in book form.”

About the project

Project: BredaPhoto International Talent Programme (ITP)
Project manager: Stichting BredaPhoto
Dutch partners: Stichting BredaPhoto, Breda; Stichting Avans, Tilburg
Participating countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Germany
Discipline: Photography  
Duration: 4 October 2019 – 3 October 2023
Scheme: Small scale collaboration projects
Allocation Creative Europe: € 200,000

Read this article in Dutch

Are you interested in participating in the Creative Europe Culture programme? Please contact our advisor Albert Meijer.

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