Born in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, Aouatef Khelloqi had spent most of her life following an ordinary pathway, including an advanced degree in finance and accounting. Nothing predisposed her to the art of photography and film making… except this quest to the understanding of her plural identity, which encouraged her to start exploring the world, back in 2008.
Profoundly attached to her ancestors as well as her Arab-Berber origins, she decided to take a journey of discovery to the Arab-Muslim civilization, which brought her as far as South-East Asia. However, it was mainly Central Asia her eyes dwelled upon.
Animated by a passion for nomadic adventure and inspired by the famous explorer Ibn Battuta, she decided to travel along the Silk Road, from Istanbul to Damascus, from Konya to Kashgar through Isfahan, Samarakand, Bishkek and even as far as Turpan, finally reaching the starting point of a new journey: Xi’an.
Contemplating the beauty of our world to better understand it. Meeting others, unexpectedly, and finding a way through. Reviving the memory of forgotten people. This is what naturally guided her to the art of photography and film-making: the urge to shed some light on the kind of hardships, injustices and atrocities these people were undergoing.
Portraits and landscapes: experiencing journeys and everyday life scenes in which time seems to stop. Taking the time to live at the pace of oppression, capturing a moment of life of these caged people and choosing to speak about their persecution: luckily, she finds the strength to deal with these situations thanks to the resilience of these people, determined to restore their dignity.
An odyssey full of emotions, necessarily conducive to meditation, while facing the supreme beauty of creation. Little by little, the earlier mentioned identity quest became a much deeper type of quest: finding beauty on the other side of the world, loving from nearby or from far away, seeking justice and freedom: it was actually a spiritual quest. Nothing more than the journey of life.