Shards of lives

Between 2014 and 2016, I completed a series of frescos in collaboration with the social landlord, Adoma.

The project recounts life in a welfare home in Beausoleil, delivering a portrait of the Chibanis, aging immigrants from the Maghreb who provide economic support for their families back home. They are marginalized individuals with fragmented lives.

Surrounded by cactuses and evocative trees, they suffer their loneliness on dry hills flooded with greenery, overlooking Monaco, with its yachts, casinos, and luxurious cars. Two different worlds.

I no longer see tired and ill old men, but, instead, heroes. Gradually, I hear their silences more clearly. I like their smiles and I bow to the power of their sadness.

Throughout a long life of labour in France, working to support their families in the Maghreb, they were those who were called, affectionately, “K7 granddads”, who record their voices on tape for their children, without seeing them growing up. Retired, rootless, trapped by the system, many of them never return home.

There thus remains an unanswered question: what good is there in it? What is the merit in this economic system?

I highlight lives of social wandering, made up of fragile landmarks, silent tumults, and solitude. I reveal these fragmented lives, a collective epic evolving on the margins of society.

These photographic frescoes gave rise to a large format exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris in September 2016.

See the exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris Close