For its 6th edition, the jury of the Madame Figaro Award at the Rencontres d’Arles 2022 has chosen Amina Kadous, a young Egyptian photographer who has produced a work that is both intimate and universal on the erosion of part of the history of her country, symbolized by the cultivation of cotton.
Unanimously, the juries Madame Figaro Photography Award – Arles chose Amina Kadous, born in Cairo in 1991, for her project entitled “Oro blanco” (“White gold”), presented at the exhibition “If a tree falls in a forest”, at the Espace Croisière. The photographer weaves the story of a family and national history from El-Mahalla El Koubra, her birthplace and pioneering center of the cotton sector until the end of the 1970s, around the company Misr Spinning & Weaving, then the largest textile factory in the world. biggest of the world. . In 1969, Amina’s grandfather founded his cotton factory there. His son joined him twenty years later. And in 2006, the Egyptian protest began there, in the textile sector.
a work of memory
The “White Gold” series evokes the voids left by time as Egyptian cotton decays. A work of memory, sensitive, poetic and intelligent, that strives to gather the traces of his childhood, between loss and transmission, in the grandfather’s house and the cotton fields. “The series is a search for my personal identity and my national identity. A cycle of failures and possibilities. (…) Uprooted and uprooted from the ground, I see my reflection in the cotton path. A symbol of what I am constantly trying to become. The white cotton flower transforms internally and externally until weaving, transforming into fabric. In the same way, I try to adapt to the outside world, to weave my life in the currents of today. Drawing inspiration from my grandparents’ legacy, their records, and my country’s eroded history, I try to reconnect and harvest what’s left of our own growing cottonseed. From what was once an important symbol of our Egyptian identity,” he explains.
A documentary work, which he speaks of as “small fragments of a long search to understand his present”. Despite the fact that a disproportionate new capital, Al Masa, is being built in Egypt. Although Amina Kadous studied in Boston, her work has been exhibited there, as well as in London, Paris, Cape Town and Mali. In December 2019 she received the Center Soleil d’Afrique award at the 12th edition of the Bamako Biennial of Photography.
Night in the ancient theater.
The Madame Figaro Rencontres d’Arles photography prize has been awarded every year since 2016, during an evening in the old theater. The winner receives a prize of 10,000 euros and is invited to carry out a project published the following year in mrs figaro. In exchange, he gives the Foundation Arles meetings prints that enrich a collection that began more than fifty years ago and that contains images of great names in photography from the 20th and 21st centuries. The award is supported by women on the movea program of keringby BMW Group France and by Barbara Sturm.
This year, the presidency of the Madame Figaro Photography Prize was secured by Virginie Efira, surrounded by Anne Berest, Jean-Pierre Blanc, Nicolas Di Felice, Brigitte Lacombe, Caroline de Maigret, Kamel Mennour, Souheila Yacoub, Rebecca Zlotowski and d’Anne – Florence Schmitt, Editorial Director of Miss Figaro. Amina Kadous joins our previous laureates; the Spanish Laia Abril, crowned in 2016 for her project on the history of misogyny, the Chilean Paz Errazuriz, persecuted by Augusto Pinochet, showing those whom society does not look at, the Polish Wiktoria Wojciechowskawho documented the war in the Donbass in the manner of artists painting icons, the Greek Evangelia Kraniotti, for your immersion close to sailors and those who live in ports, and the Sudanese Eythar Gubara, who showed images of women in a Sudan dominated by men.