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Hanane El Ouardani

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Hanane El Ouardani (NL, b. 1994) lives and works in Amsterdam, where she graduated from The Hague’s Royal Academy of Art in 2018. The Dutch-Moroccan photographer was born in the Netherlands with bicultural roots, and her practice reflects a recurring duality: on one hand, an unwavering desire to truly feel at home somewhere, and on the other, embracing her status as an ‘outsider’ due to the unique perspective it offers her, allowing her to keenly observe differences from a distance. In 2018, she published the photo book ‘The Skies are Blue, The Walls are Red’, a visual diary that explores the various layers of a diasporic identity. The book raises questions about representing one’s roots without feeling estranged from one’s own culture.

Drawing inspiration from clichés and contradictions, her work raises questions about identity, exotism, contradictions and social status. She dissects the layers of these themes, often starting from a personal narrative, which organically speaks to a collective spanning different cultures.

El Ouardani takes her camera to places where men are prominent in public spaces. As she actively interacts with them as subjects, she insists, “ I believe it’s crucial for the female gaze to participate in uncovering masculinity’s place in our contemporary world.” Her work has been exhibited at notable venues, including the Van Gogh Museum, Unseen Amsterdam, Foto Tallinn and Paris Photo.