Salma Khalil Alio is a versatile artist. Her interests include photography, plastic arts, and graphics. Besides her artistic production, she is the author of several published pieces, and she holds a Master’s degree in geography.
After spending some years abroad with her family – Marburg, in Germany, and after that Maiduguri, in Nigeria – she came back to Chad where she completed her education, learning from many Chadian and non-Chadian artists based in N’djamena. Since her childhood, she was fascinated by drawing and writing. Encouraged by her father, a former leader of the opposition group Frolinat, and her mother, an embroiderer whose works and tales inspired the young Salma, she followed her passion and developed her artistic skills.
Salma is now part of the artistic and cultural scene in N’djamena. Among several national and international recognitions, she gained the title of first woman caricaturist in Chad. Salma took part in several collective works such as graphic novel collections and expositions of plastic art. Salma is also following up her interest in photography, rubbing shoulders with other photographers and reporters. She always keeps Chadian society and lifestyle as a source of inspiration. She portraits the conditions of people in their daily life, with a special focus on the issues related to women and education of children. These interests led her to develop photography as a primary form of expression. Through her contact with the Chadian photographers Abdoulaye Barry, Anissa Michalon, André Lejarre and the international collective Invisible Borders, she has refined her technique, and now she practices in ateliers run by collectives of Chadian photographers and Djamaa Africa.
Salma’s work has a lot to say about her city, N’djamena. Paintings, comic strips, photographs stimulate a reflection on the salient circumstances, both past and present, that shape its history. These are at the same time autobiographical and collective, and offer us a unique opportunity to listen to the voices and the stories of the city. At the same time, the space of the city is not isolated but intersects with stories, ideas, identities from the whole country. Similarly, in Salma’s art, we can find a continuous connection with traditional Chad, nourished with stories from the Guera, the rural area in central Chad where her roots are. This Chad is so different from N’djamena, but at the same time it is blended with the space of the city in one big history.
Today, Salma is also active in social activities. She manages Zarlinga, her own enterprise of handicraft and graphic design. She also coordinates Positive, a Chadian organisation that pursues the autonomy of women through the valorisation of handicraft and art. Beyond that, she works for the the mobile phone operator Tigo, a job that allows her to get wide access to ICTs and to be active in the social media, allowing her to be seen and heard outside her country.
Salma’s personal website: http://www.artistetchadienne.com/
“Y’a pas de problèmes !” a photo reportage on the artistic scene in Chad