The photographer’s ‘Inara’ is a body of work about the Middle East.
In a changed world after ‘Nine-Eleven’ the photographer, in her quest for justice and truth, often works in conflict and near, – or post-conflict zones. In particular in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. She searches to emphasise on the unjustified manner in which Western politics imposes it’s will on the people of these countries and the strong, often religious character, of the local response.
Den Ouden wishes to combat the collective anxiety about Islam that Western governments are cultivating. Particularly in a climate where the conservative America of George Bush randomly uses terms like ‘Muslim Fundamentalists’, ‘axis of evil’ and ‘war on terror’ in an effort to stir up a sense of fear. Den Ouden wanted to experience for herself how justified this anxiety is, and made extensive trips through the Middle East with her camera. She recorded the daily life of the Islamic world, which appeared to be far from threatening as is often suggested in the West. The photographer titled her series ‘INARA’ Arabic for ‘enlightenment’. ‘Because of the insight I obtained for myself and hope to convey to others’, she explains, She made the work with several grants from the Foundation of Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam.