Malika Sqalli is a multicultural and multilingual artist who uses photography as a medium which shows “reality” in new ways, or, as the great critic John Berger put it, her images are a way of “catching the frame between the frame.” Her photos (she also uses mixed media and animation) are a way of asking questions about the world and inspiring people with visual answers. Her photos are at once a form of international communication, full of anthropological, geographic, and human elements that become part of a visual education
Born in Morocco, Sqalli moved to France in her teens and attended the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Montpelier. She then spent several years living in London, and since 2010 she has divided her time between London, Rabat, Los Angeles, and the various places she has journeyed to along Latitude 34, both North and South, in order to complete her current project. Malika has shown her work on four continents -- in North America (Atlanta), in Europe (France, Austria and the UK), Africa (Morocco ), and East Asia (Korea). At several shows, her work has been singled out for awards or honorable mentions.
Latitude 34, one of Malika Sqalli's recent undertaking, is a very smart conceptual art project that grew out of a personal moment of recognition. In 2010, when she first visited Los Angeles, Malika found that for all the cultural differences between her home town, Rabat, Morocco, and L.A, there were also great commonalities. Seeking to find out why, she learned that both places sit astride the 34 parallel North. Seized by the unlikelihood, even romance of the idea, she decided to explore and photograph the human sites and sights along that imaginary demarcation line around the globe in order to see and share what she could learn about the similarities and differences in human cultures. For Malika this is not just a project about the beauty of the places along the parallels, but an exploration undertaken with a camera and fueled by her “child’s eye” view of the world, a view which works against parochialism and in favor of cultural globalization.
She addresses that connections and disconnections: what links us, relates to us and also what is far away, different and mysterious and investigate and question the notion of home, culture and identity.
She asks herelf, "is home a physical place? in the emotions? the logical mind? about geography history and ancestry?The notion of home, space, culture identityare intrinsicly linked to each other and to language too, and this is very interesting today, where transience is common place, home isn't as straightforward as it was for the previous generations, and so the notion of cultural identity is being redefined and challenged.Culture, heritage and history can enhance our outlook in life, our identity, our character, enrich it, just like it can hinder it, blind us, suffocate us, irritate. It can be an embellishment or a corset. I am intrigued by it and how we are affected by this in an era of globalisation."
She hovers between taking what is there between the blink of an eye "where something about the emotion and identity of the place calls me " to staging stories and emotions visually. It is a way of connecting to a deeper self and to the viewers, touch them, talk to them, about them, about us and take them to a place they won't necessarily go.
Through her work she is often performing an investigation of the perception and questioning relationship between the self, the body and the surrounding world. She quotes P Jackson: "Cultures are maps of meanings through which the world is made intelligible."
"As humans we like to make sense of things, (and ourselves)," Sqalli says, " we like to link them, map them, relate to them. It's one of the processes I use in my work.
We create our own reality, mythology, anything we see we comprehend pass through the filter of our mind, and this fascinates me.With one set of reality, possibilities are infinite."
Her photographs often have a large negative space and the lense is often pointed to the sky and the clouds. It is therefore very natural to find her nowadays up there, skydiving, to take her photography litterally and physically up there, being true to her constant physical implication in whatever she embarqs on.
She is also a qualified personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach, Nlp practitioner and fully licensed skydiver and camerawoman ( she is currently working on a new series of fine art photographs done during freefall) and gave Tedx Talk in 2013 in Casablanca.
1996-2000 Ecoles des Beaux Arts Montpellier
Grants and Awards
2015 Honourable mention Lucie Foundation 2015
2015 Spider Award twice Nominée in Fine art and Nature
2014 Optimism wins the Nuages contest at Photo Ceros during Photo Paris
2013 Honorable Mention, Nature 6th Annual Photography Masters Cup
Nominee in Nature
Nominee in Americana
2012 Honorable Mention, Lucie Foundation Photo Award Paris Trees Serie
2012 The Colour Award, Photography Masters Cup, Microsects: Wildlife Nominee
2011 Huntington Beach from Latitude 34 Project in Top 25, The One Shot Photo Award
2011 Honorable Mention, IPA International Photo Award
2011 Nominee at the 5th Annual Photography Masters Cup
2009 Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie Paris
2008 Honorable Mention in Cat: Architecture, IPA Photography Award
2017 Betwixt and Between group exhibit Fotografie Museum Antwerpen - Belgium
2016 Optimism at AbGlobal London UK
2016 Optimism at André Heller’s Anima Gardens gallery Marrakech Morocco
2015 Stories and Secrets group show at Photoplace Gallery Vermont USA
2015 Awan Arab Women Artist group show London
2015 Optimism Ahead Solo show at the Arab British Centre London
2013 Speaker at TEDx Casablanca about Latitude 34
2013 Latitude 34, Solo Exhibition at Fondation CDG Rabat Morocco
2013 Latitude 34, Solo Exhibition at Sharq, Los Angeles Ca.
2012 Latitude 34, Solo Exhibition, whitespec, Atlanta, GA
2011 Latitude 34, Solo Exhibition, Cube Independent Art Space Rabat, Morocco
2011 The Los Angeles Collection, Group Exhibition, Seoul Art Fair
2011 I love LA, Group Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA
2008 Peepholes & Virtual Biology, Solo Exhibition, Cube Independent Art Space, Rabat, Morocco