Call for photographies for an international exhibition

Memories, Identities, Politics

The exhibition will examine street signage in urban Africa and Israel/Palestine as an outcome of dialectic processes, short and long termed, of spatial production and attached imagery and symbolism. That is, beyond being a signifier of a spatial orientation per se.

Visually and contextually, street signage in the global South normally reflects a colonial heritage of multiple European powers and post-colonial developments. However, top-down heritages have been constantly interacting with indigenous bottom-up naming systems, of the space users. We shall focus on these interactions in terms of identity/alterity interplay; and memories and couter-memories in a variety of languages. Esthetic and thematic aspects of the signage will be brought into the fore regarding generic and specific names, official and informal names, ideological and mundane names -- to be read as (sub-) texts that complete and compete with each other in challenging ways.

The exhibition not only seeks for a documentation of textual inscriptions in the cityscape, but rather, through the signage, to understand the cityscape as a text produced by wider, variegated, forces. By de-colonising the field of toponymy -- traditionally governed by geographers and historians of European nationalism who tend to relay on official signage and gazetteers -- the exhibition strives to bring a fresh and alternative viewpoint in terms of geography and the character of signage in question. It is also expected to advance an in-depth, qualitative and critical perspective in area studies research, using toponymic inscriptions to gain a more comprehensive historical understanding; and, at the same time, to gain a more nuanced, situational and place-sprecific understanding.


Visual interpretations of (in)formal street signage are welcomed to be considered, from professional photographers and amateurs, urbanists, linguists and passers-by. Each participant is expected to send not more than 3 images of a minimum resolution of 600 dpi, together with a photo description/analysis of maximum 300 words. A full name, country, affiliation/profession, and a short bio of maximum 50 words should be also attached. Please e-mail these to: signagexpo[at]

Images will be fully acknowledged. Photographers' rights will be fully respected. The exhibition is not for profit.

Exhibition curators

  • Dr. Liora Bigon, General Studies Department, Holon Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Arch. Michel Ben Arrous, Centre Yavné, Bordeaux
  • Curator-in-chief: Ms. Michal Chill, Library Director, HIT