Maïmouna Guerresi (b. 1951; Vicenza, Italy) works in a hybrid embrace of ancestry from African, Asian and European cultures, following her conversion to Islam. Her sculptural, almost architectural creations fuse the face and limbs of the subject with the space, some levitating, others bodiless, their veils encompassing an empty expanse, heads floating overhead.
Guerresi presents an intimate perspective on human spirituality in relation to mysticism, shedding a new light on community and the soul, heavily influenced by Sufi traditions in Senegal, Sudan, and Morocco. Recurrent metaphors such as milk, light, the hijab, and nature create an awareness of the vital unifying qualities of Islamic spirituality. The images are delicate narratives with fluid sequencing, an appreciation of shared humanity beyond borders – psychological, cultural, and political.
She has exhibited in prominent institutions such as the Venice Biennale (Italian pavilion), Documenta, National Museum of Bamako Mali, KIASMA museum of contemporary art of Helsinki, Bahrain National Museum, Sharjah Art Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, I.M.A Institute du Monde Arabe, the 13th Cairo Biennale and the Lagos the Lagos Photo Festival, LOBA Leica Oskar Barnack Award, SCoP, Shanghai Center of Photography Shanghai, China and Gallery Gongbech, Jeju, South Korea, and Kyotographie, Kyoto, Japan, among many.
Her works are included in private and public collections worldwide, including the Boghossian Foundation, GAM Galleria Arte Moderna Achille Forti, Minneapolis Institute of Art, L.A.C.M.A Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of African, Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, and Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.