Publieke ruimte in Gent
© Yasmina Besseghir

Espace Publiek

For many Ghent locals, public space is their second home. Photographers Yasmina Besseghir and Sipan Hota spent last summer criss-crossing the whole city to create images of these places. A selection of their work can be viewed in St Peter’s Abbey alongside videos and testimonials from several young people who are connected to the Victoria Deluxe culture house.

St Peter’s Abbey Ghent

From 2 June 2022 to 18 September 2022, inclusive

Tuesday until Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Free entrance, no reservation required

How do you see the city?

The city’s streets, squares, parks and all the places in between form the backdrop to a large part of our lives. How we organize and manage that public space tells a story about who we are and what we stand for both as a city and as a society. We just don’t tend to give it much thought.

What happens if we take the time to look closely at our environment and try to record how we experience it? What conversations result from us sharing these experiences with each other?

Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to think about these questions. Sipan Hota, Yasmina Besseghir and five young people associated with Victoria Deluxe invite you to rediscover the places we take for granted and to look at them in a new light.

Yasmina Besseghir

Yasmina Besseghir has had a soft spot for expressive images from an early age. After her teacher training, she started working in education. However, her love for photography persisted, so she decided to take an evening course at the KISP and then went on to complete the Photo Art course at the Sint-Lucas Academy in Ghent. Her photos have already been published in De Standaard, Weekend Knack and Actief Wonen, as well as featuring in notable exhibitions in Ghent, Antwerp, Tongeren, Sint-Niklaas and Knokke-Heist.

To be honest, when I started this project, I felt a bit alienated from my own city. I was born here, but there were many places that I had not visited for a long time, as well as places I simply didn't know or I consciously avoided. It was really a rediscovery of my own city, and I can recommend that to everyone.

Yasmina Besseghir

Sipan Hota

Sipan Hota grew up as a Kurd in Syria, close to the border with Turkey. When the Democratic Union Party called on all men between the ages of 18 and 35 to report for military service in 2013, he decided to flee. After a long time on the road, he finally landed in Belgium in 2018. His free work creates a life story that begins in Syria and continues through Damascus, Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany, culminating - for the time being - in Belgium. The photos take you to the heart of his soul: dark and melancholic, but always in search of beauty.

Partly thanks to social media, we all live in our own bubbles. This project helped me to see the city from different angles - literally. I found it absolutely fascinating to be so close to the people while shooting, to see what they do in their daily lives and what they enjoy and, most of all, to discover how diverse Ghent really is.

Sipan Hota