Fazal Sheikh, Teju Cole: Human Archipelago (2021)


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ISBN: 9783958299115 Category:

Sheikh Fazal, Cole Teju


For more than 25 years Fazal Sheikh has highlighted the plight of displaced people and refugees around the world. He has photographed people driven from their homes by war as well as those upended by the redrawing of national borders and the reassertion of racial and ethnic divisions. Sheikh has also made sublime photographs of landscapes altered by political and environmental crises.

In recent years, the shift to the political right in the US has been replicated across Europe, the Middle East, Central and East Africa and Southeast Asia, as authoritarian governments and xenophobia have increased. As an act of refusal to these political trends, Sheikh sought out the celebrated novelist and critic Teju Cole for a collaboration that would reinforce their commitment to the ideal of a compassionate global community as well as the importance of individual courage.

The resulting book represents the two authors’ distinct visions, their shared values and mutual spirit of cooperation. With Cole’s words and Sheikh’s photos we are confronted with fundamental and newly necessary questions of co-existence: who is my neighbor? Who is kin to me? Who is a stranger? What does it mean to be human?

We are always looking forward and backwards, inside and out. We are and we are not what we see. Doubleness is the first condition of the human. We are not ourselves without also being the Other. -Teju Cole

Additional information

Weight 762 g
Dimensions 19.4 x 24.4 cm
Publisher name Steidl
Publication date 3 January 2022
Number of pages 256
Format Hardback
Dimensions 19.4 x 24.4 cm
Weight 762 g


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Teju Cole is a novelist, essayist and photographer. His honors include the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Cole's photography book Blind Spot was shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. He is the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine and Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard University.

Fazal Sheikh is an artist and author of 15 monographs, the majority published by Steidl, and including A Sense of Common Ground, The Victor Weeps, Moshka, Lanli, Portraits and The Erasure Trilogy. His work has been widely exhibited at major institutions including Tate Modern, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and United Nations, New York; and the Mapfre Foundation, Madrid. Sheikh is a fellow of the MacArthur, Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, and artist-in-residence at the Princeton Environmental Institute.