Nofin'ankizilahy / Boys dream

[2013 - ongoing]

" Christian Sanna's photographs testify to the enthusiasm of the younger inhabitants of the island of Nosy Be for a sport both indigenous and traditional. For them it represents a landmark, the basis for a process of recovery and resistance of the Westernization of the island in the service of tourism."

— 11th Rencontres de Bamako.

Spectators seated in a circle, a dirt court, saturated music, and two adversaries (Fagnorolahy) face to face. Moraingy is a traditional combat sport practiced on the west coast of Madagascar by the Sakalavas. In the past it was practiced as a game, as a means of self-defense, and as training for warfare. During a Moraingy the adversary is not seen as an enemy but a way to build oneself. Today the Moraingy has become a popular event generating money, some fighters are now stars and are trying to professionalize themselves.


Youngs Fagnorolahy training on the dance floor of a local nightclub before the opening time.

These images were taken in Nosy Be, an island north of Madagascar where Christian Sanna is from. Although the island is one of the main tourist poles of Madagascar, this new economy leaves aside part of the local youth who cannot be trained and who suffer the disappearance of traditional economies as well as the increase in the cost of living. Sanna has chosen to document this subject which testifies to the enthusiasm of young Malagasy people from the island of Nosy Be for a sports practice of an indigenous and traditional nature. This represents for the latter a beacon from which to set up a process of resilience with regard to the difficulties generated by the modernization of the island to serve the needs of tourism. With his black and white photographs, Christian Sanna produces series of portraits of wrestlers seated facing the camera and looking at the lens with confidence and determination. Moments of warm-ups, training, or solitude evoke the preparation for the struggle, both an inner struggle and a way of rebuilding themselves for the young people left behind by the changes on the island. For the combat scenes, the wrestlers are captured in classic poses suspended in time, inscribing the bodies in a gesture belonging to the vocabulary of the heroic epic.


- Exhibitions views -

"FROM A TO A" , Arles, France.
IFM, Madagascar.
Street of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
IFM, Antananarivo, Madagascar
11th Les Rencontres de Bamako, Mali.
2023 © Christian Sanna.
All rights reserved.
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