Photographs by Angelina Bergenwall
Where does the spirit live? Is it possible for it to be in more than one place? Painter Moley Talhaoui’s work brims with personal and cultural symbolism, fusing diverse influences into a narrative, autobiographical, and spiritual quest to connect to his family’s rich culture and varied geography. His Swedish-Amazigh (Berber) heritage deeply influences his practice. Amazigh, or Imazighen in the plural, means “free people” in the Indigenous Tamazight language, and comprises the ethnicity of several nations, mostly across Northern Africa. Talhaoui’s roots connect him primarily to Morocco, a place his spirit feels at home as much as his childhood city of Stockholm and its surrounding suburbs, where he was born and raised. One of seven children, raised by their single mother, he internalized the importance of family connection early on, taking nothing for granted. With the birth of his son Atlas, named for the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and now four years old, a renewed sensitivity to the power of love and heritage influenced daily life, and spilled onto the canvas. Photographed on the outskirts of Stockholm with many of his closest friends, this is a story of fellowship, love, and the places and people that define home.