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Haute Kabylie, 2023 © Karim Kal
Haute Kabylie, 2023 © Karim Kal

Karim Kal

Award winner 2023

Following deliberations held on June 19 and 20 at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, the jury of the HCB Award 2023 unanimously nominated photographer Karim Kal for the project Haute Kabylie (Greater Kabylia). This work will be exhibited at the Fondation HCB in Spring 2025 and a book will be published. 

Karim Kal’s nomination was presented by Aurélie Voltz, director of the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole (MAMC+). 

Members of the jury of the HCB Award 2023

Damarice Amao, Curator at the Cabinet de la photographie, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris
Julie Arnaud, Head of Visual Arts & Craftmanship Projects, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Paris
Clément Chéroux, Director, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris
Taous Dahmani, Freelance Curator
Agnès Sire, Former Artistic Director, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris
Urs Stahel, Freelance Curator 


The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is the patron of the HCB Award.


The Haute Kabylie (Greater Kabylia) project explores the nights of this mountainous region south of Tizi Ouzou, the regional capital to the east of Algiers. A territory marked by centuries of rebellion against invaders – including the Roman Empire, the Vandals, the Vikings, the Ottoman Empire and French soldiers – Greater Kabylia symbolizes resistance within Algeria. Mobilized right from the start of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962), the region’s inhabitants were also the first to oppose the post-war policy of Arabization, and are still today at the forefront of the popular movement for democracy that is sweeping Algeria. 

The landscape of Greater Kabylia is shaped by mountain plants, olive trees and red sand. Attentive to the interweaving marks of history and topography, Karim Kal proposes a new reading of the region and its past. By focusing on the night, Karim Kal’s photographs are situated between obscuration and unveiling: the viewer has to make an effort to analyze the image and detect its details – as an invitation to reflect on this history mixed with conflict and reconstruction. 


Born in 1977 in Geneva (Switzerland), Karim Kal lives in Samoëns (Haute- Savoie). After graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts de Grenoble and the École de photographie de Vevey (Switzerland), Karim Kal first became interested in the portrait genre, before photographing public spaces, particularly at night. However, human presence is always at the heart of his work, which focuses on the traces left by culture and history. 

His work has recently been exhibited at the Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, England), La Galerie (Noisy-le-Sec), Les Magasins Généraux (Pantin), the Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon and the Musée d’Art Moderne d’Alger (MAMA). His work has entered the collections of the Fonds national d’art contemporain, the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint- Etienne Métropole (MAMC+), the FRAC Auvergne and the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration.