Fazal Sheikh (American, born 1965)
Hadija and her Father Badel Addan Gadel, Somali Refugee Camp, Mandera, Kenya, 1993
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Jane and Marc B. Nathanson, 2014
There is just over one more week to see Recent Acquisitions, which closes Feb. 15. The exhibition features works that have entered the museum’s collection within the past two years, many of them have never been seen before. A subsection of the show is a gift of photographs from Los Angeles art collectors and philanthropists Jane and Marc B. Nathanson.
Among the photographs is Hadija and her Father Badel Addan Gadel, Somali Refugee Camp, Mandera, Kenya—which is a favorite of James Jensen, curator of the exhibition and of our contemporary art collection. He wrote this about the photograph:
Fazal Sheikh was born in New York City. His first photographic projects began in the 1980s, in Kenya, where, during his childhood and adolescence, he spent his summers living with his father’s relatives in Nairobi. From 1992 to 1994 he returned to Kenya to work among the communities of refugees who fled there from strife across the borders in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan. He remained in the camps for extended periods, learning about the refugees’ experiences and asking the elders for permission to invite their people to sit for a portrait. The portraits he made in those first months in Kenya established a way of working that has remained fundamentally the same ever since—a simple, direct, respectful rendering of one person, or a group. The empathy he felt for the people is conveyed in the dignity and grace which he captured in portraits such as this one.