French-Algerian Artist Wins African Photography Prize

BY Katrina Kufer / May 22 2018 / 20:12 PM

Photographer Maya-Inès Touam bags the biannual LCC Program award for emerging artists

French-Algerian Artist Wins African Photography Prize
© Thomas Echegut & Maya-Inès Touam
Maya-Inès Touam. Detail of Untitled from Ready Made series. Numerical print on matte paper. 60 x 70 cm.

Lcc Program celebrates emerging contemporary African photographers with an award and provides their first solo exhibition. “LCC Program is an award supporting the next generation of contemporary African photography through the promotion and exhibition of an emerging artist,” says Othman Lazraq, co-founder of Lcc and director of Fondation Alliances. “Through this platform, our wish is to highlight the young creative photography of the region through a consistent patronage policy, as part of an alternative approach to that of the art market.” Opting to showcase underrepresented African photographers on the continent or in the diaspora who are not currently in education, the Fondation Alliances-backed award has announced French-Algerian Maya-Inès Touam as this year’s winner. She will receive a $2,000 monetary prize. 

With a practice commenting on the intersection of the Arab, African and Western worlds, Touam questions perceptions of each. She uses traditional North African objects including leather shoes or seasonal fruit and places them with Western products such as Adidas sandals or LED street signs to create a dialogue on desire, aspiration, identity and socio-political concerns. Touam’s exhibition, entitled Drifting, will feature 10 new and existing photographs, diptychs and triptychs that draw inspiration from 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painting, as well as still life installations that people can interact with in order to create their own compositions. “This still life work, just like my work in general is deeply rooted in the African photographic practice,” says Touam. “You can find references to studio photography practiced by Sidibé and his contemporaries in my work. I also wanted to reveal the poetry in the way these objects are assembled, with a certain apprehension for balance that can be found in Maïmouna P. Guerresi’s works or in the symbolic compositions of Aïda Muluneh. All these great artists allowed me to affirm my position within the current photographic context.”

Touam was selected by a panel of judges including architect and photographer Zineb Andress Arraki; Fondation Alliances head of cultural projects and Lcc Program co-founder Meriem Berrada; journalist Amine Boushaba; curator Olfa Feki; Lazraq; Galerie 127 founder Nathalie Locatelli; and ifa gallery director and curator Alya Sebti, following their support of her series Ready Made. “Thanks to the Lcc Program, I found the appropriate guidance to continue Ready Made,” says Touam. “I wish to take part in more artist residencies in Morocco and on the African continent in order to find all kinds of symbolic objects and confront my work with new formats.”

Drifting will run until 6 July 2018 at Villa Delaporte, Casablanca, Morocco.