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Agence VU - Malik Nejmi
Malik Nejmi

French-Moroccan by origin (born in 1973 in France), Malik Nejmi analyzes simultaneously familial and collective stories.

After a long trip in Benin in 1999, he developps what settles basically his work through the utmost variety of forms and technics . It deals with documentary that tracks differences and diversities appearaing inside a culture, a country or through migrant people coping with changing fates, grieves, joys, rejections,...

His whole work is divided into two parts. On the one hand Malik Nejmi uses small photographic stories in order to carry out engaged investigations and anthropologic inquiries (mainly in Africa) highlighting both strong cultural interactions and the reconquest of a territory related to childhood and ritual. He explores the very notion of group membership by focusing on communities and families. On the other hand, he intends to re-establish the links with Morocco left by his father for France.

By using habitual transmission codes in his work, Malik Nejmi applies himself to creating stories going further than plain childhood recollections and the nostalgic reminder about the history of immigration. From his work emerges a nameless territory, '' the territory of the soul'' as he call its, suspended and ghostly. What matters is to link again two countries and two generations. The imaginary memory related to France of the 80's and 70's and to postcolonial Morocco forms his main topic, as much as understanding why his father gave up coming back to Morocco. He likes to mix up the opposite destinies of migrants looking for hope, and sons of fomer migrants looking for coming back to their African fatherlands.

Hence he belongs to a photographic trend located bothside of Mediterranean and trying to express the constant migration movements of our present world.


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Portfolio

Portraits

Series

Ethnoscape (2014)

Barcelona is at the beginning of my new work titled « Entrada, » where I follow the journey of my father when he traveled from Morocco and through Europe in 1970. His passport notes his passage through Barcelona, Brême, Dortmund, and Rotterdam, before arriving in France. I am interested by the idea of mixing areas and towns to recreate one as a legend. Observing this way by which migrants are regarded at the center of our society has allowed me to blend into the natural mobility of the European social lanscape. If the idea of Europe does not really exist, the concept of immigration becomes once again blurred. Who are the foreigners ? Are they simply residents who lack the nationality of...

Pi Mai (New Year in Laos), France (2010)

Any displaced community will, one day, wonder about its identity. The first students from Laos arrived in France in the late 60’s and saw the refugees turning up in1974. Those refugees were fleeing communism and discovering the “free world”. These Asian migrations are often compared with the “boat people”, and the Laotians were among the migration waves France organised. Hence, we can understand their feeling of owing to France for taking them out of the camps. They had to integrate quickly into the modern world while keeping their Buddhist rituals. Today, they are a visible minority. Few documents exist about these people from Southeast Asia who migrated to France. The sociologists P....

Laos Diaspora Tour (2009)

As asked by the Laotian community of Orleans, who wanted to illustrate the trip, and with the Secours Populaire as a partner, I followed the changes of these 20 teenagers during the summer of 2009 in their journey to Laos. Aware of the problems linked to the passing on of the parent’s culture, I tried to draw a portrait of the young Laotian generation born in France, through a unique and emotional trip, conditioned by the hope of meeting their origins. How can I photograph and transcribe their hope to create links with a country their parents fled 30 years before? The strength of this illustrated report is equivalent to the strength these young people spread out to realize their dream....

El Maghreb, Morocco (2005)

One day, I've shown to my father some of my pictures : his mother's grave and the portrait of his sisters in Rabat. He simply answered : "I understand". I heard it as a proof of love. The pictures were taking him back to his country. The migration made him keep a social link between his native country and abroad. Whereas my father refused to go back to Morocco, the family story made the son do it. My job was to create the link again. Obviously I wanted to work on memory, places, feelings, complexity of the separation with the country, and the way everyone would live the emotional link with the family. I had to take over the simple note of an official story of migration to deal with the...

El Maghreb, Morocco (2004)

One day, I've shown to my father some of my pictures : his mother's grave and the portrait of his sisters in Rabat. He simply answered : "I understand". I heard it as a proof of love. The pictures were taking him back to his country. The migration made him keep a social link between his native country and abroad. Whereas my father refused to go back to Morocco, the family story made the son do it. My job was to create the link again. Obviously I wanted to work on memory, places, feelings, complexity of the separation with the country, and the way everyone would live the emotional link with the family. I had to take over the simple note of an official story of migration to deal with the...

El Maghreb, Morocco (2001)

One day, I've shown to my father some of my pictures : his mother's grave and the portrait of his sisters in Rabat. He simply answered : "I understand". I heard it as a proof of love. The pictures were taking him back to his country. The migration made him keep a social link between his native country and abroad. Whereas my father refused to go back to Morocco, the family story made the son do it. My job was to create the link again. Obviously I wanted to work on memory, places, feelings, complexity of the separation with the country, and the way everyone would live the emotional link with the family. I had to take over the simple note of an official story of migration to deal with the...

Benin Chronicles (1999)

My first illustrated report, following Pierre Verger’s path. A race forward, a search for the African nature. In this early 21st century, the Benin commemorates the story of the deportation of slaves. This bitter memory imposed a huge respect when I took part in the official ceremonies at the voodoo master Dagbo Houno’s. Benin, former Dahomey, country that came back from exile; when the snake bites, you do not get away. Alive, I returned in the evening, cured from that deadly venom. Here it is, I’m seen differently, I came back from the dead… I will write those few words to my father: “you know, it is beautiful here, it reminds me of your place.” I was 25; this report is my pride as a...

Books

France, Turfisme

Malik Nejmi a reçu carte blanche pour photographier l’univers des courses et des parieurs, dans les cafés ou sur les hippodromes. France, Turfisme rassemble une quarantaine de photographies prises au cours de trois mois de reportage. Malik Nejmi nous fait partager son regard original et plein d’humanité sur le monde des parieurs.

«Si les visages de Nejmi sont parlants c’est précisément parce que le photographe ne les a pas seulement observés, mais écoutés, il a compris que leurs plaintes, leurs délires, leurs théories et leurs pauses sont les segments de la toile humanitaire que les courses ont tissée sur le pays. Patchwork social, précieux patrimoine.» Christophe Donner
Text by: Christophe Donner

Publisher: Editions Filigranes (2010)  

El Maghreb

Trois livres, trois voyages. Comme une lettre photographique et poétique, el Maghreb explore le Maroc du fils né en France et les silences du père immigré. Entre image et texte, ce récit se construit en trois parties, trois voyages au cours desquels Malik Nejmi part sur les traces de son père arrivé en France dans les années 1970. Cette quête aboutira au voyage commun tant espéré. Les photographies de Malik Nejmi cherchent à saisir tout à la fois le Maroc contemporain et les invisibles liens familiaux. Et, alors que le souvenir des vacances au bled et que les images de l’album de famille affleurent, Malik Nejmi éprouve avec humanité la photographie familiale et documentaire. Le texte, sous forme de lettre au père, prolonge la franchise et la sensibilité du regard des images. Mais El Maghreb est aussi un travail de recherche où Malik Nejmi s’interroge sur les rapports entre la France et le Maroc, sur l’absence de dialogue avec son père et sur la complexité des géographies Nord-Sud. Il y évoque la dépression qui, d’un côté, envahit la jeunesse marocaine et, de l’autre, pèse sur les enjeux contemporains des migrations. C’est l’histoire de la quête d’une reconnaissance et d’un espace pour se sentir chez soi, ici ou là-bas.

Publisher: Home Cooking Books
Size: 21 / 21
ISBN :9782951648456   

Awards


    2015 - Iméra, Marseille (Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches avancées)

    2014 - Tara Mediterannée Residency

    2013 - Villa Medicis

    2012 - Bourse, Drac Centre

    2011 - Bourse du Centre National des Arts Plastiques

    2009 - Mosaïques, DNAP-CNAP Public Commission

    2007 - Photography Award of the Académie des Beaux-Arts 2007

    2006 - Jury's distinction, Prix Nadar du livre 2006

    2005 - Kodak Photography Critic Award 2005

    2005 - Bourse d’aide au matériel, DRAC Centre, 2005

Exhibitions



El Maghreb, Returns to My Father Land ( Bobigny)
From 2017-03-02 to 2017-04-15

« One of the consequence of migration was the necessity to keep social relations, at the same time, with the territory of origin and outside this territory. While my father refused to return to Morocco, the familial history wanted the son to come back. It was then my role to recreate a link. And it became clear that my work would question the memory, places, feelings, the complexity of separation with his country and the way we live the emotional bond we have with the family. I had to go beyond the simple observation of an « official » history of immigration, to evoke the \"ghorba\",...

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El Maghreb, Retours au pays de mon père (Bordeaux)
From 2016-10-14 to 2016-12-31

« One of the consequence of migration was the necessity to keep social relations, at the same time, with the territory of origin and outside this territory. While my father refused to return to Morocco, the familial history wanted the son to come back. It was then my role to recreate a link. And it became clear that my work would question the memory, places, feelings, the complexity of separation with his country and the way we live the emotional bond we have with the family. I had to go beyond the simple observation of an « official » history of immigration, to evoke the \"ghorba\",...

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Immigrant Songs (Roma)
From 2014-10-03 to 2014-10-19

In the frame of the exhibitions Immigrant Songs and Open Museum/Open City, Malik Nejmi shows his last video installation, 4160 (Italy, Marocco, 2014 - 34mn) made, for the most part, in his studio during his one-year residence at the Villa Medicis. Produced with the support of a grant from the French Academy in Rome and coproduced by the Maxxi, the film enters at the same time the prestigious collection of the museum. « Today more thane ever, my work stands in the context of a poetical reflection, a reflection moulded by the travels between my two countries of origin, in which I never stop...

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"El Magreb" and "Taboo Child" (Nantes)
From 2013-01-17 to 2013-02-17

El Maghreb (Morocco, 2001-2005). \r\rOne day, I've shown to my father some of my pictures : his mother's grave and the portrait of his sisters in Rabat. He simply answered : "I understand". I heard it as a proof of love. The pictures were taking him back to his country. \rThe migration made him keep a social link between his native country and abroad. Whereas my father refused to go back to Morocco, the family story made the son do it. \rMy job was to create the link again. Obviously I wanted to work on memory, places, feelings, complexity of the separation with the country, and the way...

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El Maghreb (Toulon)
From 2012-01-06 to 2012-02-29

One day I showed to my father some of my photos. The grave of her mother and the portraits of his sisters, in Rabat. He simply said: “I have understood”. And I considered that as an evidence of love. The images would take him back to the country. My work on Morocco is situated in a transitory space, in three round trips: “Images of a return to the country” (2001), “Ramadan” (2004), “Ba oua Salam” (2005). This work is first of all a look on my people, who have become the main characters of a photographic story. As a consequence of migration, there is the need to maintain social relationships...

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Ma te Saï ? Where are you coming from ? (Phnom Penh)
From 2011-11-26 to 2011-12-31

Of Moroccan origins, the photographer explores the situation of immigrants who, by choice or necessity, have had to settle in a foreign country. An open-ended problematic of identity, which, while exploring in the manner of a self-portrait that ceaselessly questions itself, the work is characterized by an expansive opening outwards rather than a withdrawal into the self. In this way, he has photographed the Lao community in the town of Orléans, in a series of portraits in striking colors, young people celebrating Pimai. He then accompanied them (they were born in France) on their first visit...

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Al Janna (Paris)
From 2011-11-08 to 2011-12-29


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Taboo Child (Trondheim)
From 2011-10-14 to 2011-10-14

In Africa, disability doesn’t stand up to tradition\r\r« It is all about tradi-disability and social pressure to preserve the group’s ethnicity. All the children I took a picture of have been excluded because they bear this taboo, this difference own to their disability or twinship. These children don’t know who they are. There is no psychological monitoring. Big NGOs go to warring countries but forget developing countries… How can it be possible ? Nothing allows us to think that any african population could be so powerless in the face of this problem. Traditions alone can decide for the fate...

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Laos, Back to the ancestors' country (TOURS CEDEX 9 )
From 2011-06-28 to 2011-07-11

On the occasion of the conference "Memory of migrations" at the University of Tours, Malik Nejmi exhibits in the town hall, photographs about young teenagers from Orleans' Laotian community into exile, who decided in 2009 to travel in their parents' country, meeting for some of them parts of their family they had never seen before.

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Taboo Child (Vendôme)
From 2011-06-17 to 2011-09-18

As part of the festival "Promenades photographiques" Malik Nejmi will show a long term project on the representations of disability in Africa. His reportage "Taboo Child" in nurseries of Mali is only a step of a whole journey.\r\rFor two years, Malik Nejmi has been documenting the lives of the children who have been excluded from their families because they were born different. With an infinite modesty, he shows us the absence and questions about the benchmarks that help children to grow.

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Africa see you see me (Lisbonne)
From 2010-10-01 to 2010-11-28

This exhibition is organized in three parts around the theme of Africa. Nejmi Malik presents some of his shots on the series "Ba Wa Salam, the return of my father" in Morocco. His work on Morocco is traversed in both directions, in three trips. Sort of declaration of love for this country, a look at his, now become the protagonists of a photographic history. These photographs evoke the depression on the one hand, invaded the Moroccan youth, and the other weighs about contemporary issues of migration, to highlight the tension of the action, when the spaces intersect, overlap and interact. The...

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Etre Laotien en France. Une communauté d’émotions (Paris)
From 2010-09-30 to 2010-11-21

Within the context of Paris Photo and of the month of photography in Paris, the French National Library "François Mitterand" brings together the looks of fourteen young photographers which question present - day France and its territory. Far from limited itself, it actually encapsulates all the meanings and the nuances of the concept. This event reminds of Rayond Depardon’s "La France" presented at Arles in 2006 with the support of HSBC France, partner since the beginning. For this occasion, Nejmi Malik is proposing a set of photographies highlighting the laotian community in...

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France 14-F14 (Arles)
From 2010-07-04 to 2010-09-20


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"L’ombre de l’enfance", un regard sur le handicap en Afrique (Arles)
From 2010-07-03 to 2010-07-21


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Laos, return to the country of ancestors and spirits (Orléans)
From 2010-02-27 to 2010-04-25

I have been in close contact with young Laotians from Orléans for a year. By order of the Laotian community who wanted to document this journey and in partnership with the Secours Populaire I have followed the progression of these twenty adolescents in their project of return to Laos. Sensitive to the questions of transmission of parental cultures, I have tried to build the portrait of the young Laotian generation born in France through a unique and sensitive journey, conditioned by the hope of a return to the sources… How can be photographed and transcribed the hope of seeing recreated the...

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Paris Photo ()
From 2009-11-17 to 2009-11-22

Malik Nejmi will be shown in the exhibition "Statement", which is presenting several arab and iranian emerging artists, at Paris Photo from the 17th to the 22nd November.

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