GIBRALTAR, THE OCEANIC STRAIT that forms a narrow passageway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, has long been a microcosm of the world’s major geopolitical conflicts, as the cultures it both separates and holds in uneasy proximity have vied for control of its waters and the surrounding territories. Among those who have claimed dominion are the Arabs, who named the two-and-a-half-square-mile rock that creates the strait Gibel Tariq, after the eighth-century general whose military victory paved the way for the taking of Al Andalus; the Spanish, whose fifteenth-century reconquista led to both the rise of a great colonial power and to the expulsion of Muslims and Jews; and the British, who have held possession of the rock and parts of the strait since the early eighteenth century.

For the past eight years Yto Barrada, a young Moroccan-born photographer who was educated in Paris and

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