“On a trip through Iraqi Kurdistan, we visited a theme park in Duhok, a rather bland city close to the border between Turkey and Syria.
The newspapers talked about attacks, kidnappings and sectarian violence, while we were eating ice cream, took a ride on the Ferris wheel and had a chat with all the different park visitors.
In this nice but also quiet surreal atmosphere, the visitors talked openly about their daily life, their fears, hopes and dreams for the future.
It was unheard of in Dream City, that Kurds, Arabs, American soldiers, Christians, Muslims, Shiites and Sunnites, parts of the Iraqi population who were involved in deadly battles outside the gates, engaged in friendly interaction.” Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort on their book, Dream City.
With their flashing lights, fairy tale scenes and perfectly trimmed gardens, theme parks cater to the ageless desire of mankind to escape every day life.
On top of that, they can play a pivotal role within a society. The origin, the location and the topic give insights into the socio-political state of the country.
Behind the innocent façade lurks a dark a grim reality, which poses the question of how different realities can co-exist.
Theme Parks in the book: Iraq (Dream City), Lebanon (Beirut, Lunapark), Israel (Superland), the Palestinian Territories (Funland), Rwanda (Bambino Supercity), Colombia (Hacienda Napoles & Jaime Duque), Indonesia (Dunia Fantasia), China (Nanhu & Shimlong), Turkmenistan (Turkmenbashi’s World of Fairy Tales) and USA (Dollywood)
The motifs are currently being exhibited in an exhibition at the Netherlands Photo Museum, Rotterdam until the 28th of August 2011. The book is published by Kehrer Verlag.
Anoek Steketee & Eefje Blankevoort
Texts by Eefje Blankevoort
168 Pages, 77 Coloured Pictures