Karim El Maktafi – Hayati

Karim El Maktafi




Hayati (“my life” in Arabic) is a visual journal realized exclusively with a smartphone. Hayati reflects on my identity as a second-generation Italian. Son of immigrants, born and raised in Italy, balance between two realities that at first sight might seem incompatible. To produce this story, I became both its subject and its object. I was born in Desenzano del Garda, a village near Brescia, Italy, from Moroccan parents. Growing up between two worlds forced me to sharpen my gaze and to compare these perspectives which often diverge from each other.



Embracing a single identity is not easy; feeling out of place or like an odd cultural hybrid often happens. Yet, while trying to define this identity, one understands the privilege of “standing on a doorstep” at the edge of two environments. One can decide who to be, where to belong, or to create new ties, while keeping alive the experiences learnt along the path. One must learn to juggle multiple languages, cultural taboos, references, prohibitions, and learn to teach those who are not also standing on the doorstep. I had to travel inside my own life and family. I faced doubts, hesitations and afterthoughts, but I realized an honest portrait of how I have lived until today.



The most interesting aspect of this story – of my story – is the creation of a less restricted reality. One that is undefined, in which various beliefs and experiences thrive and form a unique harmony. Hayati was made between Italy and Morocco during a year-long scholarship at Fabrica, Benetton Group?s communication research centre based in Treviso, Italy.



Short Bio

Karim El Maktafi is an Italian-Moroccan photographer born in Desenzano del Garda (IT) in 1992. In 2013 he graduated from the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan. He has collaborated with several photographers in various fields: commercial, fashion, editorial production and major advertising campaigns. His photographic research explores the concept of identity through through documentary methods and portraiture. His work has been presented in exhibitions at the Brescia Photo Festival, the Festival of Ethical Photography, Fotografia Europea, Fotoleggendo, Area35 Art Gallery in Milan and YES Collective in Auckland, and has been featured in magazines such as Internazionale, Vice, Topic stories, Playboy Italia, C-41 and Spam, among others. He has also received the Alessandro Voglino Young Talent Prize at the FRAME Foto Festival. Between 2016 and 2017, during his residency at Fabrica, Karim realized the project “Hayati”.


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