Life Under Populism

Aperture Priorities Contact Sheet #19

It’s a stark contrast to the way things should be.

African migrant, Roman ruins. Porta Palatina, Torino.

Yet, if you delve deep enough, the lines start to blur, and it all begins to resemble a single, troubling reality.

Especially when it comes to photographing political topics. In a country governed by the far right, it’s an easy call to make.

Domestic issues, such as diversity and immigration, blend in all too easily with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nationalist frameworks leave very little room to conclude otherwise. But it’s the last thing that populists would have you believe.

If you want to understand why discourses about colonialism are such a big deal to racialised communities, it’s all right there.

Everything is about people of colour and hierarchy, at home and abroad. Whether you live in Molenbeek or Neukölln, it’s always a short trip to Gaza.

This edition of Aperture Priorities explores this irony, in mixing photographs of Black migrants with Palestinian solidarity flyers and graffiti.

As someone whose family lived under Ottoman and British rule in Palestine until 1948, I am especially sensitive to such conflations.

Growing up with parents exploring what it meant to be post-colonial was a rich, if difficult, experience. The older I get, the more I appreciate it.

Working through it in the context of a major Middle Eastern war, in a Mediterranean state in conflict with its own minorities, can be just as trying.

The following photographs were shot last weekend, during the EU elections. Italians were also voting in regional polls, including in Torino.


Italy in revolt. Gaza protest flyer, Torino.


Migrants and fascist graffiti. Porta Palazzo, Torino.


For populists, this war is about them. Migrants and solidarity graffiti, Torino.


Italians against the right. Porta Nuova, Torino.


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Photograph courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.