Seif Kousmate

Winning body of work

“WAHA واحة” (oasis in Arabic) is a four-year photographic research project aimed at understanding the complex relationship between people, their environment, and the history of the territories they inhabit. Collectively, oases carry a mystical, almost magical aura. Growing up in the south of Morocco, they’ve always been an intriguing, transitional territory I wished to explore and demystify. Beyond myths and orientalist representations, oases define systems, cultures, indigenous knowledge and innovation. They maintain a delicate balance between water, flora, soil, and climate in hostile environments. Oases reflect what happens on a larger scale, reminding us that humans can build and nurture whole ecosystems but destroy them in the blink of an eye. Exploring and experimenting with new processes and visual narratives, the series extends the metaphor of erosion within the oasis. It calls upon external and organic elements intimately linked to the spaces photographed, both documentary and conceptual, to navigate the realities of present-day and yet-to-come deterioration.

WAHA واحة