This October, Somerset House and 1-54 Contemporary African Art fair are hosting an exhibition capturing the unseen stories of people displaced by conflict.
Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage is the first major UK retrospective of works from the French-Moroccan photographer, video artist and activist.
Rite of Passage offers an intimate portrait into the rich cultural identities and resilience of societies facing difficult and uncertain realities.
The subjects of Alaoui’s works are pictured across the contemporary Mediterranean landscape and beyond. From Syrian refugees fleeing civil war in Lebanon, to young North Africans seeking an alternative future in Europe.
Tragically, Alaoui was killed in 2016 whilst working on a photography project for a women’s rights campaign in Burkina Faso.
The Somerset House exhibition
Now, Rite of Passage will showcase three of Alaoui’s defining photographic series, created between 2008 and 2014. Les Marocains (2010-14), No Pasara (2008) and Natreen (2013). Throughout each series, Alaoui seeks to challenge the often cliched portrayals and exoticisation of North Africa and the Arab world. The photographs present a nuanced narrative of the region, its inhabitants and immigration.
The exhibition also presents Alaoui’s final unfinished video work L’Île du Diable (Devil’s Island, 2015). The piece explores the lives of a 1960’s generation of dispossessed migrant workers in France. Showing great sensitivity towards her subjects, Alaoui’s images are both informed yet artistic. Giving a human face to the people who often become lost and misrepresented behind waves of news coverage and statistics.
If you like the sound of this, more UK exhibitions and installations can be found here.
When: 11th October 2020 – 28th February 2021
Where: Terrace Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
£: Tickets are Pay What You Can (£0 – £10). Book in advance
More info: www.somersethouse.org.uk