We’ve interviewed Khk Aidan to discover the vision behind her powerful world of photography.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I am 39 years old. I would consider my personality to be specially influenced by my double nationality, being both French and Moroccan, and by the fact that I am gay. I work under an artist name, Aidan Khk, which comes from my real name, Nadia Khallouki. I taught myself photography when I was 15, and kept going ever since. The principal purpose of my work consists in taking different parts of the respective elements those two cultures have to offer, and merge them in my art.
WHAT IS THE VISION BEHIND YOUR WORK?
I like to imagine a scenography that involves my double culture, religious symbols, and all the different particularities of each of them. After studying sociology, I chose photography to express myself because I consider it to be the perfect way to tell about a « time in a life » or « a time in a society ». With this medium, it’s possible to express definitively and conclusively what a person is or was at a special time. Souvenirs are built in a special way by our consciousness and we can see those souvenirs with a different angle when we look at a picture of that specific moment or event. Things are more eloquent this way. I myself did not have photos from my childhood and it is something that I regret when I see other people’s.
In my personal construction, I have always questioned religion and our own personal relationship to it. That is the reason why I like to question it and put it forth in my work. I love to put in evidence the gap existing between set dogmas and the way we actually live those dogmas or the way we could possibly live them. As I got older, I realized people could not live neither on their own free will, nor on their personal intuition. That is because they always refer to religious rules as a guide as to how one should live their lives. I then decided to express through art, that there are other ways to live in happiness and serenity than this.
HOW HAS EVERYTHING THAT’S BEEN HAPPENING AFFECTED YOUR WORK?
Through this current situation, quarantine has played an important part in my creativity. I had to occupy my time and my space differently than what I was used to. I was traveling around and was going to Mexico when it all started. I was not stressed or worried about that special time. I came back the day before confinement was announced in France. I think this allowed me to be in a positive creative dynamic. My apartment is full of object, of fabrics, it offers a beautiful light. It allowed me to see quickly enough what would be interesting to integrate to my photos. It helped me a lot to pass the time during quarantine.
WERE THERE ANY PROJECTS THAT SPECIFICALLY CAME OUT OF THAT?
The idea of the veiled woman with a mask appeared to me as obvious. In France the question of the veil, the burqa, and the Muslim woman in general has stroked me a lot during the last years. My mother wore the veil, as well as my aunts and my sister. If I am not a believer, I respect their choice and their freedoms. But what happened is that the situation today is ironic, because everyone has to work in the street with their faces hidden. We were forced to put it on, and maybe it will be our way of living. So, I imagined those veils matching with masks to show the absurdity of value judgments.
ANY PLANS FOR FUTURE WORK AND WHAT’S TO COME?
For now, I am currently searching for new esthetics to express all of those personal and social issues through my work. I think that the situation the whole world is experiencing today will necessarily change our way of imagining art. It changed me, personally. I am adapting to the idea that everyone is invisible and faceless and that therefore I will have to re-invent things myself. I believe with conviction that beautiful things can happen if we look together without wanting to divide but rather to come together. And I think art is a great tool to achieve this.