Shadows of Pakistan

“Shadows of Pakistan” tells the story of Afghan and internal refugees who live in the slums around Islamabad. “Especially the children were a source of inspiration to me. They seemed to not have lost their sense of imagination, although they went through hardship beyond my imagination.”

Featuring: Alice Wielinga

Presented by

United Photo Industries, with additional support by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York




In January 2015, Alice Wielinga started her project, “Shadows of Pakistan.” She had the chance to visit Islamabad and to travel to the outskirts of the city, which inhabits unregistered Afghan and internal refugees. Alice got to know about the subject through the work of two-time Pulitzer prize winner Muhammed Muheisen. Before the refugee crisis became an important topic, Muheisen’s camera was turned to the most vulnerable group of people society knows. Today, there are 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees still in Pakistan.

In 2015, Wielinga joined Muheisen on a challenging and inspiring journey to meet the people he had photographed. “Especially the children were a source of inspiration to me. They seemed to not have lost their sense of imagination, the smiles on their faces, although they went through hardship beyond my imagination.”

Using the visual language of Islamic medieval miniature art, she recreates the castles and depictions of the Persian empire’s court life. “I wonder if the wealth and stories of old times can still echo into their contemporary situation full of hardship. Their situation makes me sad. I realize my work can never be more than a prayer, a whisper of hope. But those beautiful children, they need it the most.”


Alice Wielinga graduated from the School of Fine Arts, St. Joost Breda in the Netherlands as a documentary photographer. With “North Korea: A Life Between Propaganda and Reality,” she won the Photo Folio Review at the Rencontres d’Arles 2014 and first prize at the Fine Art section of the Moscow International Foto Award in 2015. Her personal projects took her from China to Cuba and recently to Pakistan. “North Korea: A Life Between Propaganda and Reality” was part of the group show, “North Korean Perspectives” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, USA) and the Drents Museum (Assen, the Netherlands). This summer, her project is shown during “(Im)possible to see: North Korea” at The Lumière Brothers Center of Photography (Moscow, Russia). The workbook of this project was part of the exhibition “L’Art se livre” at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle (Le Locle, Switzerland). Opening September 2017, her work will be part of “Donne & Fotografia” in Udine (Italy), an exhibition on the “150 female photographers, who have profoundly revolutionized and influenced the history of twentieth century photography.”



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