THE ALLOCHTOONCHARIF BENHELIMA
A solo exhibition by the Belgian photographer Charif Benhelima (born in Brussels in 1967), The
Allochtoon displayed the Welcome to Belgium (1990-1999) series as well as Semites: A Wall under Construction (2005-2011) in a global installation.
The photographic work of this artist primarily centres on a quest for identity, based on his past as the orphan child of a Moroccan immigrant father, settled in Brussels, and a Belgian mother who died when he was a child. Parental absence and the ensuing feeling of displacement drive his artistic process. Although it is autobiographical, the strong impact of his work is a result of its universal relevance.
In addition to the two series displayed, texts tracing the artist's story were also integrated into the exhibition, accentuating the narrative dimension of his work. Lastly, a new piece portrayed a young Charif Benhelima stripped of all contextual references whether geographical, cultural or otherwise. It considered perceptions of the other as well as the issue of collective judgements.
Exhibition Curator: Pierre-Olivier Rollin