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After having dedicated its four previous editions to landscapes, portraits, the city and still life since its creation in 2016, the PhotoBrussels Festival could not avoid turning the spotlight onto the lockdown, the main protagonist of 2020, in its fifth call. In its commitment to make photography a field for debate and knowledge, Hangar Photo Art Center reopens its doors with The World Within, until March 27. This exhibition is the result of an urgent call to share the personal atmosphere in which photographers have lived during the last months, showing twenty-seven unique realities.

Each of us has experienced confinement in a different way. We have done the best we could deal with the complicated and unfamiliar situation, striving to overcome loneliness, restlessness and bad news we received day after day. It is precisely the diversity – and uniqueness – of these experiences what interests PhotoBrussels Festival 05, captivated by the emotions shown during this period and the resilience demonstrated by the population as a whole. We must be optimistic, now more than ever, and Hangar is decided to capture unprecedented images of this pandemic.

From the imaginary scenarios created by French photographer Gérome Barry as a way of escaping from a sad reality to the analysis of the Generation Z reaction and the disparity of feelings led by the Italian duo of Valentina Piccinni and Jean-Marc Caimi. Empathy, precariousness, humour, routines or the search for better worlds to completely escape from the here and now. The twenty-seven artists selected from among more than four hundred participants who responded to the call for European photographers announced in March, when the scope of the pandemic was still unknown, present infinite ways of acting before a common reality. Or different, depending on how we look at it. What is clear is that, directly or indirectly, this exhibition belongs to all of us.

David Alarcón

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