African Photography: Photomontage, Part 4

African Photography: Photomontage, Part 4

Publié dans Photography

Using photomontage, artists create surreal images based on actual photographs in which their subjects act out fictional situations that echo reality. Their photographs thus provide an escape from reality, funneled through their artistic sensibility. They are marked by a sense of calm instilling an idea of safety. Within the confines of their frames, there is a sense of security and discovery. The images slide across various genres that meld together to create a dreamlike staging, inviting the viewer into a place that breaks with convention.

Malala Andrialavidrazana

Malala Andrialavidrazana was born in 1971 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. She grew up in Paris where she moved in 1983, and graduated from the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris-La Villette in 1996. Andrialavidrazana draws on her knowledge to deconstruct photography and invent a new language by borrowing from the other arts. Through her creations, she questions our history, as well as contemporary issues and underlines the contrasts between the perception of the Western world and the countries of the Global South. In the series Figures (2015), which combines images of ancient colonial maps with references borrowed from various spheres of visual culture, Andrialavidrazana reflects on the notions of displacement, discovery, territory, and cultural hybridisation, as well as history and colonial relics. Covering antiquity to the modern era, her pieces place different civilisations at the same level. Her work is the result of a lengthy period of research aimed at neutralising imposed narratives and taboos in favour of critical and restorative images.

Figures 1856 by Malala Andrialavidrazana

Figures 1876 by Malala Andrialavidrazana

Fatimah Tuggar

Fatimah Tuggar was born in 1967 in Kaduna, Nigeria, and raised in London, England. She studied visual arts at the Kansas City Art Institute and earned a MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1995. Tuggar uses collage and digital technology to explore themes of gender, race, identity, and technology. Her images juxtapose scenes from African and Western daily life, creating a reality that questions the place of technology within both societies. These photomontages convey her sense of humour and playfulness, along with her nuanced sociocultural commentary. In her photomontage Working Woman (1997), she illustrated a smiling African woman wearing a traditional dress crouched in front of a computer, which recursively displays the same photomontage on its screen, creating a Droste effect. Tuggar also creates video and web-based media artworks. Her interactive work encourages the audience to reflect on their own stereotypes by creating collages with images from foreign cultures.

Working Woman by Fatimah Tuggar

Shaking Buildings by Fatimah Tuggar

Sabah Naim

Sabah Naim was born in 1967 in Cairo, Egypt. She has completed her studies in fine arts at the College of Art Education in Cairo, receiving a BFA, MFA and Ph.D. Combining photography with painting and collage, Naim explores Cairo’s everyday life through images taken by herself or from her family album or newspapers, juxtaposing tangible reality with fantasy world. More recently, she introduced embroidery to her work, pushing her images into three dimensions. Naim’s work reflects on themes of globalization, modernization, and memory. The photos are mainly black and white and are mostly enhanced by hand-painted motifs, which evoke the aniconic linear style of the Islamic artistic tradition. The realism of the human figures, who are bearers of their individual experience, thus contrasts with the abstraction of the sign. In the series People of City (2003), Naim highlights the relationships between individuals while emphasising the difficulty of making contact in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Limehouse by Sabah Naim

Limehouse by Sabah Naim

Youssef Nabil

Youssef Nabil was born in 1972 in Cairo, Egypt. He started photography in 1992, after his application to the Cairo academy of cinema was rejected, casting his friends as characters in draft screenplays and photographing them as seen in the Girls Playing Cards (1993) series. Inspired by the golden age of Egyptian cinema in which photographic stills for movie posters were hand painted, Nabil uses photomontage to capture colourful portraits and explore themes of beauty, sexuality, and cultural identity. The photographs take on a surreal energy as they become situated in a fantasy world, rather than in an existent location. In The Last Dance (2012) series, Nabil explored the cultural change through the portrayal of belly dancers. Their slow disappearance is significant of a new cultural identity that is following political shifts in the Egyptian mindsets. He investigated more that cultural shift through the short film I Saved My Belly Dancer (2015), deepening his longstanding relationship with cinema.

Girls Playing Cards by Youssef Nabil

Girls Playing Cards by Youssef Nabil


Publié dans Photography  |  janvier 20, 2024