About the Artist

Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world. His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, found photographs, archival material, sound, and his own written texts. He works from the conviction that a portrait is, as far as possible, an act of mutual engagement, and only through a long-term commitment to a place and to a community can a meaningful series of photographs be made. His overall aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of these groups, to respect them as individuals and to counter the ignorance and prejudice that often attaches to them.
Each of his projects is collected and published and is exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. He also works closely with human rights organizations and believes in disseminating his work in forms that can be distributed as widely as possible and can be of use to the communities themselves.

Fazal Ilahi Sheikh was born in 1965 in New York City. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in 1987 and since then has worked as a photographer documenting the lives of individuals in displaced communities across East Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba, India and Israel/Palestine. He has received many awards for his work, including a Fulbright Fellowship (1992), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1994), the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (1995), the Leica Medal of Excellence (1995), Le Prix Dialogue de l’Humanité, Rencontres d’Arles (2003), the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Grand Prize (2005), the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (finalist, 2008), the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (2009) and the Lucie Humanitarian Award (2009).
In 2005 he was named a MacArthur Fellow and in 2012 a Guggenheim Fellow.
Fazal Sheikh’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including Tate Modern, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography and the United Nations, New York City, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. His work is held by many public collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; and the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 2001, as one facet of his practice, Sheikh established a series of projects and books about international human rights issues that would be published and distributed free of charge and made available online. These are published under the imprint of the International Human Rights Series (IHRS). This website is, therefore, a record of his work to date and constitutes an online exhibition, a publishing resource, and an archive.

His books include:

The Erasure Trilogy (Steidl, 2015)
The Conflict Shoreline (with Eyal Weizman; Steidl, 2015)
The transformation of this world depends upon you (with Wendy Ewald, Tom Keenan, and Martha Saxton, 2014) Ether (Steidl, 2013)
Portraits (Steidl, 2011)
Fazal Sheikh (Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, 2009)
The Circle (Steidl, 2008)
Ladli (Steidl, 2007)
Moksha (IHRS and Steidl, 2005)
Un Chameau Pour Le Fils (Photo Poche Societé, Actes Sud, 2005)
Ramadan Moon (IHRS, 2001)
A Camel for the Son (IHRS, 2001)
The Victor Weeps (Scalo, 1998)
A Sense of Common Ground (Scalo, 1996)

In 1994 Sheikh was named by The New York Times as one of thirty artists, thirty and under, most likely to change the culture for the next thirty years.