Naeem Mohaiemen

Live True Life or Die Trying



photo | text | video | shield | New York | Gijon | Zurich | Kolkata | Mexico City

These polarities appear, also, in a single day in January 2009. The first rally, by a new group of young Islamists – an event where he finds no familiar faces, "except among the photographers". These are not the Islamists we lazily lampooned in the 1980s. Now their rhetoric has a sharp edge and reality tint.

The second rally, later in the afternoon, organized by a group of Leftists on the university campus. In this one, back in the comfort zone, meeting familiar friends, joining in enthusiastically, sometimes marching and chanting, sometimes walking backwards trying to capture a "dramatic" photo. Through it all though, a queasy feeling: of the awareness that this second rally is so much smaller, of the inevitability of Left decline, of recognizing his own desire to zoom in for a close shot. The better to inflate the size of the crowd. My camera can lie, soaked in bias and sympathy.


Art in America Review

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