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“I want to make you feel uncomfortable and anxious. I want you to doubt almost everything you’ve been told regarding national identity and what this means to ‘belong’”
Abdo Shanan’s debut photobook, Dry , is certainly intensely personal. Designed by Roi Saade, and accompanied by an individual booklet of extracts from Karima Lazali’s publication Colonial Trauma: Research of the Psychic and Political Consequences of Colonial Oppression in Algeria , it really is an excavation of the artist’s experience of identity and that belong.
Shanan was created in Algeria to an Algerian mother and a Sudanese father, with the family moving in order to Libya nine years afterwards. “I then spent eighteen years convincing myself I had been Algerian, while my father insisted I was Sudanese, ” creates Shanan, who, aged twenty-eight, finally decided to make Algeria his home.
However , after moving there, he questioned his idea of belonging. “How is it feasible for an island to can be found in the middle of an ocean? ” he wonders, likening their experience to an isolated enclave, one surrounded by a society he didn’t identify with as much as he had once thought.
Shanan extends this metaphor to Dry ’s other protagonists, who are pictured throughout accompanied by short, poignant quotes. Lamia, for instance, remaining Algeria for France antique six, visiting each summer season until she reached adulthood, and M’mmar will only return to Algeria to die.
Although the book companies on the North African nation, it is ultimately universal, endeavouring to incite reflection on these themes by visitors regardless of their history. As Shanan articulates: “I make you feel uncomfortable and anxious. I want you to doubt every thing you’ve been told about national identity and what it indicates to ‘belong’. ”