Photographer Leila Alaoui Dies After Al Qaeda Attack in Burkina Faso


French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui has died from injuries she received during the Al Qaeda terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, last Friday. Alaoui was 33 years old.

French culture minister Fleur Pellerin confirmed Alaoui’s death on Twitter yesterday.

Amnesty International says that Alaoui was wounded by Al Qaeda terrorists during the Burkina Faso Siege while parked outside a cafe. She was shot in leg and thorax and was taken to a local hospital, where she had a heart attack and succumbed to her injuries Monday night.

Born in Paris in 1982, Alaoui studied photography at the City University of New York before starting her career in Morocco and Lebanon.

Alaoui’s recent photos focused on themes of migration, identity, and cultural diversity, and she worked to share social realities by combining fine art with documentary storytelling. She was in Burkina Faso on an assignment by Amnesty International to create a series of photos on women’s rights.

A photo posted by Leila Alaoui (@leilaalaoui) on

Getting my portrait taken by a Syrian boy in a tented refugee settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

A photo posted by Leila Alaoui (@leilaalaoui) on

Maison Européenne de la Photographie director Jean-Luc Monterosso and Institut du Monde Arabe president Jack Lang gave a joint statement to the New York Times, praising Alaoui’s work in using photographer to give a voice to the voiceless.

“She was an artist who shined,” they state. “She was fighting to give life to those forgotten by society, to homeless people, to migrants, deploying one weapon: photography.”