Nada Harib reconnects with her Amazigh roots

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The Amazigh people are an indigenous number of North Africa that has been historically persecuted for their traditions. In her project, Women of Libya , Harib ruminates on the traditions of her ancestors and the women who shaped her identity

“If cultures aren’t lived out every day, they will be lost, ” Nada Harib says. “Only now, Libyans, including myself, are beginning to recognise the value of our heritage and customs. We must now try our best to learn and revive them. ” An attempt to understand what it means to be Libyan is the beating center of Harib’s work. The Tripoli-based photographer has suffered a life interrupted simply by civil war and its sensitive aftermath. Refusing the outsider narration of Libya, she invested the last five many years in documenting the everyday challenges of life in her native country. “All my previous experience did not get ready me for photographing the anarchy of war, as factions battled for power over the city that I call house, ” Harib explains. “I needed to bear witness as to what was happening around me and also capture the beauty amid the chaos. ”

© Nada Harib.

© Nada Harib.

While Harib came to be in Tripoli, her origins lie in the Amazigh custom in Yefren, about 130 kms south-west of the capital, in the Nafusa Mountains. The Amazigh, an indigenous group of North The african continent, also known as the Berbers, has a distinct and treasured tradition and language. Tragically, the Amazigh people have a history of repression, particularly persecuted under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, who saw them as a separatist threat, banning their language and practice of giving children non-Arab brands. During his reign, Amazigh activists were often locked up and e ven killed.

While the clampdown, dominance ended in 2011, with Gaddafi’s death, the culture has been diluted by villagers migrating to the city. “I am one of several who don’t speak Amazigh properly, ” Harib says. “I’ve always been so captivated by western life that I nearly forgot the value and beauty of Libyan culture. ” Females of Libya , Harib’s ongoing project, marks her journey to reconnect with her origins and the women who shaped the girl identity, relationship with the property, and taught her what it takes to be Amazigh. Through a series of portraits, landscapes and candid moments, she discovers times of revelation, animating grace in a fractured world.  

© Nada Harib.

© Nada Harib.

“Amazigh traditions differ from tradition to culture, ” Harib explains. “In Yefren, the particular homes reflect the beauty of ethnic purity and are built utilizing their own palms and olive trees and stones from their mountains. For women, the tlaba [a traditional wool garment similar to a shawl] performs a significant role. It is used on important occasions throughout every season, from wedding celebrations, giving birth, and sombre times of mourning at funerals. Tlaba is a lifestyle; the styles are not just intersecting posts but strands interweaving lifetime and death, present plus past, nature and planet. ”

In Women associated with Libya, Harib ruminates on the importance of what we inherit and send on. Historically, Amazigh women are the most significant members of society, accountable for economic, cultural, social plus religious stability, often occupying critical leadership positions in the military as spiritual luminaries, and even queens. In that spirit, she infuses deep passion into the quiet scenes of womanhood she presents, painting a rich, collective portrait of her homeland . “This project is as much about them as it is about me, ” says Harib. “It opened up my eyes and enabled me personally to see Libya anew. ”

© Nada Harib.

Gem Fletcher

Creative movie director, writer, podcaster and photograph director, Gem Fletcher functions across visual-cultural fields, focusing on emerging talent in modern photography and art. She actually is the photo director associated with Riposte Magazine, and serves a photography podcast, The particular Messy Truth.

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