Diary of Exile

The road is long and the load is heavy: Battling the mainstream. Fighting ideas of conformity. Fighting against other people’s notions of what my dreams and future should look like.  Arguing with the people around me.


I refuse to vanish in a crowd of broken dreams. I will not merge with the grays.


Exile has become a defense from the prefabricated reality. Exile is a shield that will protect who I am. An exilee surrounded by solitude, disappointment, fears of the ticking of time, of growing old, of accomplishing nothing.


A fighting kind of soul clashing with conformity and battling each other with every step.


The country has changed. Or perhaps it is just different from the image I created in my head while I was abroad to compensate for my feelings of nostalgia and homesickness while I was growing into a man.


Reality hits hard. Accept it and change or refuse it.


There may be another way around. A place where you can create your own path away from the expectations and predefined roles and identities.


Diary of Exile started spontaneously and without direction in 2014. When I started it, I thought I was documenting the life of my grandmother, who suffers from severe memory loss. But many months later, as I looked back at the photographs I was taking, I realized I was creating a diary of myself and for myself. The spontaneous nature of the project kept it instinctive rather than premeditated.


It is true this is a self-documentary project, but it represents the feelings and ideas that many people have now in Algeria — the conflicts people have with self-identity and social expectations in a society with predefined roles.

Abdo Shanan 
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