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Charif Benhelima

W. 127th St., Harlem


Charif Benhelima currently lives and works in Berlin as well as in Antwerp. Consumed by a sense of incongruence, Benhelima embarked in a nine-year (1990-1999) photographic research on the feeling of being a foreigner, which later resulted in the tough yet poetic book Welcome to Belgium (2003).

In his photography identity is a crucial question. By the use of polaroid, shown as they are or reproduced in high gloss cibachrome, the artist creates timeless images, bringing the viewer back and forth to past and present, thus giving a sensation of destabilization and enhancing the feeling of transition and obscuring the notion of truth. In a kind of countercurrent to the digital medium he embarks on a highly personal style which, although dealing with issues of identity, nevertheless is without pathos. That way the image, even so inseparably linked to its creator, is open for the viewer´s own interpretation.


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Flanders Arts Institute

Expertise centre for performing arts, music and visual arts.