About the Photographer
British, b. 1961
Each winter, children in The Netherlands eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas, who brings candy and presents to those who have been good. This white-bearded saint rides into town surrounded by his black-faced servants, the so-called Zwarte Piet. Usually portrayed by white teenagers in elaborate clown-like costumes, the Zwarte Piet throw candy to the crowds of children and shake branches at the naughty. In her portraits of the Zwarte Piet, British photographer Anna Fox explores this Dutch tradition, which raises issues of race, class, and gender – ultimately questioning what it means in the advent of growing racial diversity to hold onto a tradition that demonizes and mystifies the foreign. Visually, Fox's portraits recall the formal presentation of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings.
Fox's works have been exhibited internationally at such venues as the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; NBGK Berlin; Saatchi Gallery, London; Rotterdam Biennale; and The National Portrait Gallery, London. Her work is in the collections of the National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television in Bradford, England; Photographie Forum, Frankfurt; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, France; and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Fox resides in England, where she has been a lecturer at The Royal College of Art since 1996.