The shiny fabric of a coat, the countless woollen threads of a piece of headwear, a candid gaze – the portraits of the Moroccan-French photographer Leila Alaoui (1982-2016) put people immediately and directly into the picture. This artist retrospective shows four groups of works done between 2008 and 2015.
On her journey through Morocco between 2010 and 2014, which took her from Essaouira in the southwest to Tangier in the north, Alaoui photographed Moroccans in a mobile studio – in the bustling capital of Marrakech and in the small, secluded settlements of the Atlas Mountains. Her series 'Les Marocains' gave a face to a whole region.
In videos and photographs, Alaoui addressed issues of cultural diversity, migration and identity. In the series 'No Pasara' from 2008, she turned her camera on people living in marginal social areas. The result was a photo reportage from a perspective that hardly ever appears in media presentations: the lives of refugees hoping for passage to Europe in the port cities of Nador and Tangier.
Alaoui dedicated herself to the presence of the individual body in the format-filling faces of men and women in the series 'Crossings'. It was shown as a video work in 2015 at the ifa Gallery in Stuttgart on the occasion of the exhibition 'Carrefour / Meeting Point – The Marrakech Biennale and Beyond'.
Her fragmentary video 'L’île du Diable' treats the 1960s generation of immigrants in France, who gave to an automobile factory near Paris where they worked until its closure the suggestive nickname 'Devil’s Island'.
Leila Alaoui died in 2016 from wounds sustained in a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou. She had travelled to Burkina Faso on behalf of Amnesty International to shoot a photo spread on women's rights for the My Body, My Rights campaign. The extremist group al-Mourabitoun declared responsibility for the attack.
In cooperation with the Galleria Continua and the Leila Alaoui Foundation