En cours - Jusqu'au 11.11.2023

This is the very first presentation of M’hammed’s work at the gallery and includes never-before- published images from his multi-award winning, ongoing comparative study on the ecosystems of oases.

GOWEN is delighted to present Kafila, a solo exhibition by acclaimed Moroccan documentary photographer M’hammed Kilito. This is the very first presentation of M’hammed’s work at the gallery and includes never-before- published images from his multi-award winning, ongoing comparative study on the ecosystems of oases. Born in 1981 in Lviv, Ukraine, M’hammed Kilito is a major figure in the field of international documentary photography. Throughout his career, he has produced work not only based on a strong artistic commitment but, crucially, from a humanitarian, social and environmental standpoint. He has won the highest honours in photojournalism. He is a National Geographic Explorer, a Magnum Foundation grantee, a World Press Photo winner, a Prince Claus Fund and AFAC Grantee.

Kafila, meaning ‘caravan’ in Arabic, brings to the fore the complex and multidimensional issues of oasis degradation and its impact on the traditions and livelihoods of the local population. Encompassing the WANA (West Asia and North Africa) region, the exhibition includes images taken in M’hammed Kilito’s home country of Morocco, documented in Before it’s gone, as well as works from his recent series, entitled Untold tales, a continuation of the broader project which specifically refers to his photographs of the AlUla desert oasis in Saudi Arabia.

Witnessing a world on the verge of transformation, M’hammed Kilito is particularly concerned with the efforts to preserve, enhance, and sustainably develop its deserts’ oases, seeking to portray the stories of their communities as actors or arbiters of change. A silent and inquisitive observer, he retraces the encounters and discoveries of his accumulative explorations through his photographs, capturing authentic impressions of these sites and their singular societies, manifold specificities, rich heritage, and abundant resources.

« Over the past few years, I have visited many oases, where I have made strong connections with their inhabitants. I was able to understand this rich environment but also its glaring realities. I realized that desertification, recurrent droughts and fires, changes in agricultural practices, overexploitation of natural resources, rural exodus and the sharp drop in the water table are all imminent threats to the existence of oases. My aim is to highlight these multiple concerns rarely covered by the media and largely unknown to the general public. » - M’hammed Kilito

An ecological mainstay against desertification and critical marker for climate health, oases are a refuge for biodiversity, constituting an original ecosystem based on the balance of three elements: the abundance of water,

   Courtesy the Artist and Gowen, Geneva © M’hammed Kilito

Courtesy the Artist and Gowen, Geneva © M’hammed Kilito

soil quality and the presence of date palms. These indigenous trees, with their parasol-shaped foliage, create a humid microclimate, providing protection from the wind and favouring other plant growth fundamental to its state.

As warnings on the effects of global warming and human intervention on oases gain urgency, Kilito’s veracious, evocative, and cautioning photographs document the evolving existence of these natural havens. In his latest works, developed during the Oasis Reborn Residency program, he seeks to record and relay the beauty of AlUla with alternative representations to those idealised images of ancient, preserved tombs, sandstone outcrops and canyons routinely diffused into the public domain. Working on a temporal axis that encompasses the oasis-city’s past, present, and future, he intends to capture perceptions of its material and immaterial heritage, reflections on its ongoing societal, cultural, and economic transformations, and aspirations for the future that may soon be defined through the construction of new architectural megaprojects.

Through the prism of diverse subjects, ranging from seasonal work to abandoned locations, urban neighbourhoods, archaeological remains, farms, and luxury hotels, M’hammed Kilito unites several facets of AIUIa, presenting them as a comprehensive and immersive narrative.

Kafila aims to show that there are inhabitants, farmers, scientists, and citizen associations on the ground « who are fighting to preserve these islands of greenery in the middle of the desert and to end this project with a message of hope. »

Entrée gratuite
Age conseillé
6 à 12 ans, Adolescents, Adultes, Seniors
Date de fin
10 minutes
M'hammed Kilito
mar. 12 sept. 2023

Kafila - Gowen Contemporary

4, Rue Jean-Calvin
1204 Genève

Voir le programme complet

M'hammed Kilito

Mardi à vendredi: 10h - 18h30

Samedi: 11h- 17h00

Contact / Réservation
Numéro de Téléphone
+41 22 310 57 83


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