A man prays in St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2011.

Photographer Bénédicte Kurzen's work featuring Nigeria's sectarian strife will be showcased at Visa pour l'Image Perpignan 2012, France's premier annual international festival of photojournalism.

"Every day northern Nigeria descends into ever greater chaos and civil war, despite the state of emergency," writes Visa pour l'Image Perpignan in an online description of Kurzen's exhibition. "Since 2009, Boko Haram, a Salafist sect, has been carrying out a series of murderous attacks targeting security services, police and armed forces. These latest events have come after more than ten years of sectarian violence which has destabilized the federal state of Nigeria, the country with the largest population in Africa and colossal oil reserves. The report is an endeavor to explore the different aspects of these disturbances, driven on by power struggles and the total collapse of any form of social contract."

The images featured in the exhibition are part of the Pulitzer Center project "Divided Under God: Nigeria's Sectarian Crisis," undertaken by Kurzen and journalist Joe Bavier. The two Pulitzer Center grantees traveled to Nigeria in 2011 to uncover the root causes of Nigeria's sectarian strife.

In addition to the exhibition showcase running September 1-16, the festival will also present an education week on September 17-21, during which local school children will be treated to special viewings of the exhibitions; evening screenings on September 3-8, during which the main events of the past year will be shown in the form of news stories, reports, and feature pieces; and a professional week on September 3-9, during which professional photojournalists will be offered an opportunity to meet and interact with peers.

Saturday, September 1 - Sunday, September 16
10am-8pm
Couvent des Minimes
rue François Rabelais
66000 Perpignan, France

This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, view the Exhibitions Overview Page by Visa pour l'Image 2012.

Project

Images by Bénédicte Kurzen, Nigeria, 2011
Sectarian violence sparked by a deepening rift between Nigeria's Muslims and Christians has killed thousands over the past decade and threatens the future unity of Africa's most populous nation.

Recently

August 23, 2012 / The New York Times
Bénédicte Kurzen
Benedicte Kurzen's exploration of the political and religious tensions behind post-election violence in northern Nigeria is featured in The New York Times photography blog Lens.
April 11, 2012 / Untold Stories
Bénédicte Kurzen
Boko Haram's increasingly coordinated attacks, including the Christmas church bombings and the attack on the U.N. building in Abuja, underscore growing tensions in Nigeria.