Jan Banning is a Dutch artist/photographer based in the Netherlands. He was born
in 1954 from Dutch East Indies parents, and he studied social and economic
history at the Radbout University of Nijmegen.
Banning’s roots are expressed in the choice of his subjects. Comfort Women (2010)
is a series of portraits of Indonesian women who were forced into sexual slavery by
the Japanese army during WWII, including interviews by Dutch writer Hilde
Janssen; in Traces of War: Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra Railways (2003)
we see portraits and interviews by Banning of Dutch and Indonesian former WWII
forced laborers in South East Asia. In both bodies of work, he focuses on long-
term psychological consequences of historical phenomena. Down and Out in the
South (2013) also delves into psychological aspects, this time of homelessness, in
three states in the American South.
Banning is also known for ambitious comparative visual studies such as
Bureaucratics (government employees in eight countries worldwide) and Law &
Order (criminal justice in four countries on four continents).
He has had more than 80 solo exhibitions in two dozen countries, on five
continents. In the United States, he has had solo shows at the Museum of Fine Arts
in Houston, Tex.; 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, S.C.; Atlanta’s
Hagedorn Foundation Gallery and Atlanta Celebrates Photography (Big House
Gallery); HereArt in New York City; and the University of Chicago. Among
American group shows in which Banning’s work was included are those at the
Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the New York Photo Festival; the
Fullerton Museum Center, Los Angeles’ Annenberg Space for Photography, and
the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, all in California; Fovea
Exhibitions in Beacon, N.Y.; and Moving Walls, OSI, in Washington, D.C., and
New York City.
His work has been acquired by over 35 public, corporate and private collections,
including those of the the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts
in Houston, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and the Forward
Thinking Museum in New York City, all in the United States; the Rijksmuseum in
Amsterdam, Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, Centraal Museum in Utrecht, and the
collections of several Dutch ministries, all in The Netherlands; and the Friedrich
Ebert Stiftung in Berlin and the Norddeutsche Landesbank Art Collection,
Hannover, both in Germany.