Renowned Photographer Killed in Burkina Faso Attack


The French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui, whose work has been widely exhibited in commercial and institutional art settings, was among 29 victims killed in an Al Qaeda-affiliated attack on a hotel and cafe in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Her death was confirmed by French culture minister Fleur Pellerin in a post to Twitter on January 18. “Distressed that Leila Alouia, young and talented Franco-Moroccan photographer, succumbed to her injuries tonight in Ouagadougou,” Pellerin wrote.

Born in 1982 in Paris, Alaoui was in Burkina Faso on assignment for Amnesty International, the international aid group, the New York Times reported. She was shot twice by gunmen in the Friday, January 15 attack and died after being transported to a hospital in Ouagadougou.

Alaoui’s work was informed by human migration and cultural identity, with a geographic focus on the Mediterranean. Trained at the City University of New York, the young artist was represented by the Art Factum Gallery in Beirut, the Voice Gallery in Marrakech, and East Wing in Dubai, and her photography and video work has been exhibited at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Institut du Monde Arabe, and the Marrakesh Biennial, as well as Art Dubai, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York, and a number of other exhibitions worldwide. She was also published in The New York Times and Vogue.

Mostafa Heddaya (@mheddaya)

(Photo: Leila Alaoui’s “Crossings,” 2013, shown by Voice Gallery at the 1:54 art fair in New York in 2015.)