A black and white photo of a boy sitting on the broken remains of a wall that has been damaged and knocked down.

Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage


11 Oct 2020 - 28 Feb 2021
Tue - Sun 12.00 - 18.00
Terrace Rooms
South Wing

The first major UK retrospective of works from the celebrated French-Moroccan photographer, video artist and activist Leila Alaoui.  

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

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. 

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.

In partnership with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

With thanks to The Leila Alaoui Foundation, created to preserve her work, defend her values, and inspire and support artistic engagement. 

Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage 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, No Pasara, 2008. Courtesy Fondation Leila Alaoui & Galleria Continua.