In the framework of his carte blanche at the MEP, Hassan Hajjaj has invited the Moroccan-Italian photographer Zahrin Kahlo to exhibit her work in the Studio. Showing for the first time in a Parisian institution, Zahrin Kahlo highlights recurrent themes and motifs in several series exploring the relationship between identity and femininity.
The series Chronique d’une jeune arabe, which inspired the exhibition’s title, marked the beginning of Zahrin Kahlo’s work as an artist in 2013. The project was sparked by her encounter with Maryam, a Tunisian actress actively involved in defending women’s rights and individual freedoms. The photographer offers a portrait of a free-spirited individual proud of her femininity, far removed from western stereotypes of Arab women, often perceived as submissive and subjugated by patriarchal authority.
In resonance with these images, the exhibition features the series Stouh and Néo orientalisme, created in 2016, which are deeply linked to the photographer’s personal history. Zahrin Kahlo grew up between two continents, nourished by various cultural influences. Photography allows her to explore this double identity by combining diverse imagery with her own memories. Shaped by a childhood spent at her family home in Marrakesh, she describes a domestic universe peopled by women.
During her studies at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, she began to appropriate the Orientalist aesthetic to construct an intimate story that lies between reality and fiction, while lessons learned from the Renaissance masters informed her sensitive approach to light, composition and colour.
Born in Marrakesh into a family with Spanish and Berber origins, Zahrin Kahlo now divides her time between Morocco, France and Italy. Covering a range of projects in the fields of documentary and fashion photography, her work has been presented at a number of festivals, galleries and institutions in Morocco and Europe.