Malin Fezehai – ICP Alum

A Sudanese detainee outside of Holot detention center.You may have noticed Malin Fezehai’s images last week on the ICP Instagram. Well I met Malin about two weeks ago now at a Nomadique Artist Workshop Dinner. I was washing dishes after our meal and critique when I got a cramp in my upper back. When I entered the living room to sit down, Malin immediately noticed that I was in pain. Even though we didn’t know each other she said, “Sit down let me help you.” As she massaged the knot out of my back we got to talking. I discovered that she also attended ICP, over ten years ago now, in the General Studies program.

I asked her about her work and was impressed by this fierce, young, talented and compassionate photographer. So I decided to continue our conversation and turn it into an interview to share with you all here.

Priests on the wall surrounding the Saint Miriam church.Where are you from originally? I am from Sweden.

When did you study at ICP? I studied at ICP in 2003-2004.

What type of work were you creating while here? I was working on a project about my friend Mapei, who is a singer, and her journey navigating the music industry in New York City.

What have you done since graduating? It was over ten years ago so quite a lot, but to sum it up, I photo assisted for about a year in New York after I graduated. After that I spent time in countries like Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Haiti, and Peru. I was working to build a body of work and cultivate my interests as a journalist. For the last 2-3 years I have been working full-time as a freelance photographer for publications like TIME, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

I was really struck by your photo essay ‘A Kind of Purgatory‘ about African refugees living in Israel. Can you talk more about that project? My father is from Eritrea and that is where the majority of the refugees are from in Israel. In January of last year demonstrations broke out in Israel as a response to the opening of Holot detention center. Holot mandates that asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Sudan are to be automatically detained for at least a year and then placed, indefinitely, in an open detention center. It was the first time this community of refugees had made it’s presence known in Israel, so I thought it would be a good time to go.    

What are you working on now? At the moment I am in New York working on assignments for clients but I plan on returning to Israel in the near future.

Where can we find your work? www.malinfezehai.net

You can also follow Malin on Instagram @malinfezehai

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