Photographers celebrate twin city links

David BaleThe twin cities of Norwich and Novi Sad may be hundreds of miles apart - but a new photographic exhibition shows they have more in common than you may think.David Bale

The twin cities of Norwich and Novi Sad may be hundreds of miles apart - but a new photographic exhibition shows they have more in common than you may think.

Photographic clubs from Norwich and the Serbian city are staging an exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first contact between the two cities in 1960.

The photographs, taken by members of the photographic club of Novi Sad called 'Vojvodina foto-kino i video savez' and Norwich Photographers, give a general impression of the twinned cities illustrating their similarities and differences.

And to mark the occasion the Novi Sad club's chairman and secretary, Sinisa Bubnjevic and Dusan Zivkic are visiting Norwich for a few days.

Peter Beckley, who is a member of the Norwich Photographers and has two works in the exhibition, said: 'The Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association is keen to develop links between different groups of people in the two cities, and what better way than through visual means?

'There is no language barrier involved in photographs, and photographers in both cities were asked to come up with photos to contrast and compare the cities. We called it 'Cities and People'.

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'The exhibition has already been on show in Novi Sad and this is the return exhibition in Norwich.

'The cities have a lot in common. Both have cathedrals, churches, castles, rivers and universities. Novi Sad is also a regional capital with a large rural hinterland, which is similar to the Fens in being flat.

'But there are also differences as well. Five official different languages are spoken in Novi Sad and the economy is even worse than ours.'

Mr Beckley's wife, Diana, who is vice-chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association, which was set up in 1985 to support the twinning of the two cities, said Novi Sad appeared to be a more cultural city than Norwich.

She said: 'There's more obvious cultural activity in Novi Sad than in Norwich, anyway there's more awareness of it.

'One of the main differences is the street caf� culture. It's lovely to sit outside a restaurant or caf� in Novi Sad and have a coffee, whereas that same experience does not seem to belong in Norwich.'

Dusan Zivkic, whose photograph of a balloon with the words 'Ja Znam Put' or 'I know the way' in English, written on it, is one of the standouts of the exhibition, said: 'We try to connect cities through visual means. The photographic exhibition is all about showing citizens of both cities how its citizens live.

'This is the simplest way for people to understand how both communities compare and differ.'

Norwich is also twinned with Rouen, Koblenz and El Viejo, Nicaragua.

t The exhibition at the Assembly House until January 31. Norwich Photographers is also simultaneously holding its annual exhibition at the Assembly House. Entry to both exhibitions is free.