A photo of an old man wearing a head dress, looking straight into the camera, frowning slightly.
Online Event

Leila Alaoui: Online Talk

with writer and broadcaster Ekow Eshun and photographer Hassan Hajjaj

Fri 09 Oct 2020
13.00 BST
Online Event

To celebrate the first major UK retrospective of works from French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui we invite cultural commentator and award-winning broadcaster Ekow Eshun and photographer Hassan Hajjaj to discuss her work.

Acclaimed for capturing the unseen stories of individuals and communities displaced by conflict and unrest, Alaoui’s photography offers an intimate portrait into rich cultural identities and resilient societies facing uncertainty. 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.

In 2016, whilst working on a women’s rights campaign with Amnesty International, Alaoui was caught in gunfire during a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and three days later died of her wounds. Honouring Alaoui's photographic practice, the exhibition includes three of Alaoui’s defining series of works - Les Marocains, No Pasara and Natreen, as well as Alaoui’s final unfinished video work L’Île du Diable (Devil’s Island), exploring the lives of a 1960s generation of dispossessed migrant workers in France.

The discussion will reflect on Alaoui’s photography, which shows 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.


Tune in here

About the speakers

Hassan Hajjaj
Born 1961 in Larache, Morocco. Lives and works in London and Marrakesh. Hajjaj's work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC; the Newark Museum, New Jersey; Lose Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Farjam Collection, Dubai; Institut des Cultures d'Islam, Paris; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunisia; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA, and more.

Ekow Eshun
Ekow Eshun is a writer and broadcaster. The former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing London's most significant public art project. He is a contributor to TV and radio shows including The Today programme, Saturday Review and Channel 4 News and his writing appears in publications including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, the New Statesman, Vogue and Wallpaper. His book, Black Gold of the Sun, was nominated for the Orwell Prize of political writing. 

Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage is programmed in partnership with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

It is the ninth exhibition in The Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Rooms Series, an ongoing partnership with the leading law firm to present a wide range of free exhibitions reflecting the broad interests of both organisations.

Header Image: Leila Alaoui, Natreen, 2013. Courtesty Fondation Leila Alaoui & Galleria Continua.