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Leila Alaoui

From the series "No Pasara" [Entry Denied]


Leila Alaoui
Paris 1982 – Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 2016


From the series "No Pasara" [Entry Denied]


2008, posthumous print 2018


Gelatin silver print, 2/5


73.3 x 102.2 cm


Printed by Picto, Paris


Purchase, William Gilman Cheney Bequest, inv. 2018.426


Graphic Arts

The French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui, tragically killed in an attack in Ouagadougou, explored migration and diversity throughout the Mediterranean Basin, a region whose population has always been in flux. This humanitarian series, commissioned by the European Union, was inspired by the famous anti-fascist slogan of the Spanish Civil War “¡No Pasarán!” [“They Shall Not Pass!”]. With the aim of understanding why people leave their own country, the artist captures the essence of those young people who, motivated by dreams or by desperation, try to emigrate by all means possible. The sea, the desert and poverty can be seen in the background of her elegant, understated and simple photographs. This series of twenty-four depicts young Moroccan harragas – “those who burn borders” – illegal immigrants who embark on the dangerous journey across the sea from North Africa to Europe. This photograph captures the inbetweeness of migration by portraying a pensive young man caught between two worlds.

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