The Magical World of Alice

Artist statement


Alice Wielinga graduated from the School of Fine Arts, St. Joost Breda (the Netherlands) in 2004 as a documentary photographer. During 2008 and 2009 she studied at the ICP in New York City (USA). Hampered by the limitations of documentary photography, she devised ways of composing images that visualize the experiential beyond the immediately visible. She has worked in China, Cuba, and more recently in Pakistan and North Korea. Her project in Pakistan deals with the plight of Afghan and internal refugees living in slums around Islamabad. This project premiered in 2017 during Photoville in New York City.

Since 2013 she works on art projects in North Korea. Her first project is called ‘North Korea, a Life Between Propaganda and Reality’, which won the Photo Folio Review at the Rencontres d’Arles 2014 and the first prize at the Fine Art section of the Moscow International Foto Award in 2015.

‘North Korea, a Life Between Propaganda and Reality’ was part of the group show ‘North Korean Perspectives’ at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, USA) and at the Drents Museum (Assen, the Netherlands). The project is also shown at the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography (Moscow, Russia) and was part of the fine art festival Art Souterrain (Montreal, Canada). The workbook of this project was part of the exhibition L’Art se livre at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle (Le Locle, Switzerland). Alice spoke about her project during the 2018 National Geographic Photography Seminar in Washington DC (USA).

In 2017, Wielinga was selected for the exhibiton ‘Donne & Fotografia’ (Udine, Italy) which displayed 150 female photographers ‘who have profoundly revolutionized and influenced the history of twentieth century photography’.

Since 2017 Alice returns regularly to North Korea. There, she works on a collaborative art series, together with six North Korean colleagues. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Alice will further develop this project in an exhibition that will both display her own work, and the work of her North Korean colleagues. The project evolves around the question: ‘What does it mean to be an artists’. On Dec 6 2018, Alice gave a TEDtalk about this project during TEDx Amsterdam Women in the Royal Tropical Institute in the Amsterdam (the Netherlands).

Alice about her most recent projects:
In 2013 I started to pursue a project on North Korea. The country fascinated me for over a decade. I wanted to learn what happened inside North Korea, which seemed a bag black hole on the world map. The reports coming from there, seemed to have the same narrative over and over. Where was the story on the 24 million people who live there. How does it feel to live in North Korea? And how will it be possible to convey that in a visable story? With those questions and challenges in mind I started my project North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality. For the first part of this project, I received fantastic responses, which have strengthen me to further develop my search into this subject.

Another project, which I started in 2015 and will be published toward the end of 2017, is called Shadows of Pakistan. It tells about Afghan and internal refugees that live in the slums around Islamabad. Especially the children were a source of inspiration to me. They seemed to not have lost their sence of imagination, the smiles on their faces, although they went through hardship beyond my imagination. Those kids are the true victims of war. The conflict in their country made their families leave their homes behind, and look for shelter in a place not much safer. I decided to travel to Pakistan, and though I understood that working as a female photographer inside such areas was not without risk, I was willing to take the chance. I wished to bring a sense of fairytale to the stories of those children. I decided to study the paintings of the old Persian empire, where current Pakistan was once located and bring the fairytales from those stories back to the lives of these children. A whisper of a prayer, a hope for a dream, for those who need it the most.

Curriculum Vitae


2009: ICP (International Center Of Photography) (New York, USA)
2007: Kaospilot, Crashcourse, (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
2003: Internship with Erwin Olaf (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
2000-2004: Academy of Fine Arts St. Joost, Photography departement (Breda, the Netherlands)


2018: Leeuwarden (the Netherlands), Ode to Nebuta with European Eyes on Japan, Aug - Nov
2018: Valettta (Malta), Ode to Nebuta with European Eyes on Japan, March - April
2017: New York City (USA), Photoville, Shadows of Pakistan, Sep
2017: Montreal (Canada), Art Souterrain, North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality, Feb - March
2017: The Hague (the Netherlands), Nutshuis, North Korea, between Propaganda and Reality, Feb - April
2015: Arles (France), Les Rencontres d'Arles, North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality, July - Sep
2014: Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Museum het Grachtenhuis,Amsterdam Canals, Nov - March 2015
2011: Naarden (the Netherlands), Photo festival Naarden Time Lapse in Beijing

Groupshows (selection)

2017: Udine (Italy), Chiesa di San Francesco,Donne & Fotografia, Sep - Jan 2018
2017: Moscow (Russia), Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, North Korea, Jun - Sep
2015: Chicago (USA), Museum of Contemporary Photography, North Korean Perspectives, July - Oct
2015: Assen (the Netherlands), Drents Museum, North Korean Perspectives, Apr - Aug
2015: Le Locle (Switserland), Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, L'Art se Livre, Nov 2014 - Feb 2015
2014: Tokyo (Japan), Sirius Gallery, Keep On Dreaming
2013: New York (USA), New York Photoville, Keep On Dreaming
2011: The Hague (the Netherlands), Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Anoniem Gekozen
2006: Kauna (Lithuania), Photo festival Kauna Photo Days
2005: Breda (the Netherlands), Photo festival Breda Photo

Art projects in public space

2013: Amsterdam (the Netherlands), A Fashion Protest during the Amsterdam Floating Fashion Week
2012: Teteringen (the Netherlands), assigned by the municipality of Breda. Artwork for a school building in Teteringen, a 54 meter long print, permanently on view at the school's playground
2008: Oss (the Netherlands), on assigment for the municipality of Oss, art project in nature landscape het Herperduin


Alice's work is purchased by

MOCP (Museum of Contemporary Photography) in Chicago, USA


2018: TEDx Amsterdam Women, December 6 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
2018: National Geographic Photography Seminar, January 11 (Washington DC, USA)


2018: European Eyes on Japan, Japan Today Vol. 20, published by EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee
2015: North Korean Perspectives (catalogue with group exhibition), published by Stichting Aurora Borrealis & Stichting Fotografie Noorderlicht


2018: Nominated for the Elliott Erwitt Havana Club 7 Fellowship
2017: Chosen for Donne & Fotografia, exhibition on the "150 great photographers, who have profoundly revolutionized and influenced the history of twentieth century photograph" in Udine, Italy
2015: First Prize MIFA (Moscow International Foto Award), categorie: Fine Art
2015: Nominated for de Vevey International Photo Award
2014: First Prize Photo Folio Review during Les Rencontres d'Arles for North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality
2014: Photographer of the year 2014 by Dutch Fotonieuws
2013: Publication in NEW, Dutch Photography Talent (the Netherlands)
2011: Choix de l’art by Piet Paris during the Affordable Art Fair (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)