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Moroccan photographers tackle clichés on the Arab world in Paris exhibition

Written by FDM

Leila Alaoui and Mouna Saboni joined other photographers in taking part in a Paris Exhibition, aiming to fight the misconceptions and clichés surrounding the Arab World.

With her series “The Moroccans”, Moroccan French photographer Leila Alaoui presented portraits of regular men and women in traditional dress, and that in an attempt on her part to capture and preserve a culture that she told France 24 “is at risk of disappearing”.

Alaoui’s work focuses here on resisting what is called “Orientalism”; a “Western tendency to reduce the East to a fictionalized world heavy on exoticism”, and that by showing a different side of the Arab World, more specifically here with Morocco, that is other than the (at times) distorted vision that some mainstream media presents.

So did attempt Mouna Saboni, as the (also) Moroccan French photographer focused with her work “Fear” on addressing a recent wave of sexual abuse and harassment in Egypt. An issue that the artist skillfully tackled in an effort on her part to fight “the idea that Arab women are universally oppressed or confined to the private sphere”.

Described as “a piece that combines often explicit and painful testimonies of suffering and humiliation with images that willfully aestheticizes the female subjects through use of light and framing”, Sbaoui was very conscious towards such a sensitive subject, as she explained in saying; “The idea was not to point a finger in a society where rape is stigmatized but instead to show the victims in all their beauty, despite the trauma”.

The other photographers participating in this exhibit, included Egyptian Wafaa Samir, French Samuel Gratacap, Pauline Beugnies, Amelie Debray, and Anne-Marie Filaire.