Torino Foto Festival – New Landscapes

The shadow cone: where democracy ends and censorship begins



MAO Museo d’Arte Orientale

Shahidul Alam and Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh have always worked in a context of art production that operates fluidly on the borderline between research and activism. Although they come from different situations and places – respectively Bangladesh and France with Lebanese origins – they share a common worldview and art practice.


Both have recently been involved in events in Germany that have marked a watershed between a “before” and an “after”, giving rise to a particularly evident and relevant anthropological change. In 2023, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh was among the participants of Documenta 15, curated by the Ruangrupa collective, an event at the centre of a crisis unprecedented since the Second World War, caused by the questioning of expressive and artistic freedom; Shahidul Alam was instead supposed to be one of the curators of the 2024 Photography Biennial in Germany: the event was cancelled due to his pro-Palestinian positions.

Their art practice will be presented in an archival and documentary way: not a real exhibition, but rather an attempt to bring the public closer to two different ways of making art and political activism.

In dialogue with Davide Quadrio, Alam and Eid-Sabbagh will discuss the changing meaning of the pair democracy-freedom. If the concept of freedom seems to be gradually crumbling and corroding, undermined by the relentless rise of the equation freedom = privilege, freedom of thought can only be exercised within clearly established and firm limits.