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Leila Alaoui's 2008 series No Pasara documents the life and dreams of young Moroccans who wished for a better future on the other side of the Mediterranean, while her 2015 video project Crossings aims to convey the traumatic experience of Sub-Saharan migrants who embark on makeshift boats to reach European coasts. In both cases she tried to analyse how the utopian paradigm of the old continent is constructed in the African popular imagination.
For The Moroccans, Leila road-tripped through her paternal country in a mobile studio, where she invited men and women from different communities. The life-sized images captured on a black background highlight the beauty of their facial features, the sophisticated aesthetic of their dress, and the rich cultural traditions they stand for. A representation flying in the face of the traditional orientalist portrayal of Moroccans as an archaic people living in a rudimentary dusty environment. Through this project, and all others, Leila Alaoui seemed to aim for the same social impact: one deconstructing the idea of hierarchy between culture and people.
Taken in the 1970s while she was living between New York and Morocco, Christine Alaoui's
pictures embody a caring outlook on life from one side of the ocean to the other. A transcultural celebration of humanity which makes a stirring bond with her daughter's work. The Photomed Festival and Christine Alaoui chose to show only the 16 shots Leila Alaoui had selected, in order to make her the posthumous curator of her mother's first public exhibition, entitled Blended.
About the Franco-Moroccan photographer who died in the 2016 Ouagadougou terrorist attack. Her family is establishing a foundation in Morocco, to keep her legacy alive, and continue her work linking art with social action.