The exhibition takes place in the gallery of Studium Generale on the first floor of the Pavilion. It features 36 photographs that are installed in fourteen double-sided frames. Half of the photo exhibition can only be viewed through the windows from outside the building, while the other half can be viewed when entering the gallery.
Previously, Studium Generale had organised the exhibitions of student artworks in the gallery. However, when the last call for entries for an exhibition didn’t receive enough applications, student Jeremy Evans (Management of International Social Challenges) stepped in to help out. As co-founder of PHOS Erasmus Creator Association, as it is fully known, he relied on an extensive network of students involved in photography: “My team and I met with Studium Generale and within an hour they agreed for us to organise an exhibition. It was super last-minute. We had about two weeks to mobilise our members, select which photographs to display and assemble everything.”
Being connected to nature, being young, seeing friends and family, discovering foreign cultures or experiencing adrenaline rushes – these are all activities depicted in the photographs that are connected to the feeling of happiness. “We have a few very grey winter months behind us, and we thought that the theme happiness would bring some light into this”, Evans explains.
Happiness is a multi-faceted theme and means something different to everyone. “Each photographer has their own unique story behind the image, but the viewer might have a completely different interpretation of it. That’s why we created an exhibition guide that tells the story of the photographer. It can be accessed by scanning the QR code in the gallery.”
The QR code opens up stories, for instance, of how one of the photographers realised she had actually never taken a photo of her own mother, so she decided to take one during Lunar New Year. The result is a photograph of her mother standing elegantly in a traditional Vietnamese costume in a hallway. Another photograph talks about a happy memory from a trip to the desert, where a group of friends got stuck in a dune with their car. With combined forces they managed to get out again and ended up celebrating their success with a bonfire under the stars.
New creative society
The exhibition is an exciting milestone in the becoming of PHOS. “It was like a dream come true. We are extremely greatful to Studium Generale for the opportunity.”, Evans stated, still energetic from the opening event a few weeks ago. The association was founded out of a yearning for a creative society at the Erasmus University. Evans, originally from Connecticut, had always been passionate about photography and hoped to find various creative student associations when he arrived in Rotterdam.
However, there was no such association existing at that time. So he set out to find likeminded peers interested in creative exchange and together with Jochem Kooloos (International Business Administration) and Marques Jose Tjowasi (International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics) founded the association PHOS last year. With this he hopes to empower other students: “If you have an interest as a student and you are passionate about something then just go for it and take initiative to create your own association.”