Beyond Appearances (extract)

The series “Ny Any Aminay” (2011) is the pursuit of Malala Andrialavidrazana’s investigations in Madagascar. For her, the island is a field of infinite and proteiform research, allowing her to show the different facets of a society yet unfamiliar to a western public which, more often than not, confines itself to an exoticized, fantasized image of the island. For this new series, the photographer chose intimacy, bringing us into the private sphere of Malagasy society. Malala Andrialavidrazana opens up a generally closed space, and reveals a portion of reality. Far from postcards, we walk simply and discreetly into the houses, the salons, the bedrooms, and then kitchens of the families we meet.

The series is made up of two sections of color photographs, the first one reporting from within the families we meet. The images reveal, “the secret atmosphere of contemporary Malagasy interiors, from all classes without the extremes” (1). Lingerie spread out, jewelry, decorations, pets, kitchens, and other personal objects are presented here with elegance and subtlety. We are quite far from the postcard images that present the island as a paradise with no better place to live. If the first section of the series focuses on the environment, the objects and the interior atmospheres of the families, the second section on the other hand revolves around their bodies, marked by the modesty preserved by the artist. The bodies are fragmented, the onlooker catching only a partial glimpse. The presence of textiles – curtains, clothing, sheets – covers up the sober presences. Reading the private sphere on a secondary level permits us to come “closer to the bodily space, that other intimacy capable of communicating much more easily than with words, in a country where it turns out everyone distrusts one another” (2).

Ny Any Aminay is a delicate, respectful, and sensitive look at tamed intimacy.

1. Conversation with the artist, November 2011.
2. ibid.

Extract of text by Julie Crenn, translated from French.
Original title: “Au-delà des apparences”, published in Africultures, November 2011.



ECHOES, Module I. Collection FRAC La Réunion. 
Synchronicity I, Photoquai at Baudoin Lebon Paris, September – November 2011
Synchronicity II, Tiwani Contemporary, London, February – March 2012. Curated by On the Roof. 

L’Afrique à l’honneur, Paris Photo, November 2011. 
Curated by On the Roof.