The myth of Atlantis is described in two dialogues by Plato about 360 BC. According to the philosopher, the island of Atlantis was a technologically advanced superpower of its time, the mightiest of all the kingdoms on earth – but only as long as the inhabitants put virtue before wealth. When they ceased to do that, Atlantis disappeared. It sank into the ocean because the inhabitants had angered the gods through their lust for power.
Although the myth was a literary fiction, a utopia imagined by Plato, there has been speculation over the centuries as to where Atlantis might have been located. Archaeologists have had various theories, from “beyond Gibraltar” to the Philippines (even Sweden has been mentioned). Imane Djamil’s project 80 Miles to Atlantis adheres to the theory “beyond Gibraltar”. There, on the Atlantic coast of her native Morocco, east of the Canary Islands, lies the province of Tarfaya with its small capital bearing the same name.
What Imane Djamil depicts with her camera is yet another apocalyptic catastrophe, which, unlike the downfall of Atlantis, is caused not by the revenge of gods but by the spread of the Sahara Desert and the lack of ability/interest among the regional authorities to do anything about it. A cultural heritage is devastated, people are forced to move or go under. History repeats itself, this time in the present, before our very eyes.
Imane Djamil, born in 1996 in Casablanca, Morocco, creates images at the intersection of art and documentary photography. She has been awarded several residencies, in places including Paris and Venice, her work has been exhibited internationally, and last year she received the “New Narratives in Environmental Photography” award from the photography magazine Fisheye for her project 80 Miles to Atlantis.