As part of The Nour Festival of Arts 2015, #OCCUPYARABART visited the collective exhibition ‘Algerianism Part 1’ at The Tabernacle, London. Co-curated by Algerian event manager, Toufik Douib, and French artist, born in Algeria Patrick Altes (whom also exhibited) six visual artists were presented as part of Algerianism.
During the French era, the term “Algerianism” (algérianisme) was a literary genre with political overtones, born among French Algerian writers who hoped for a common Algerian future culture, uniting French settlers and native Algerians. After the independence of Algeria in 1962, the notion of Algerianism was taken by Algerian thinkers into a more nationalist and patriotic reference, whose policies focus more on the unity of Algeria’s nation-state beyond regional idiosyncrasies.
Amidst a rich cultural history and complex political situation, Algerianism Part 1 reflects on Algeria’s emerging contemporary art scene and on what the concept of ‘Algerianism’ would mean 50 years after the country’s independence. Each artist shares an engaging vision and powerful message of cultural identity.
Artists: Patrick Altès, Yasser Ameur, Ghania Zaazoua ‘Princess Zazou’, ‘Mizo’ Hamza Ait Mekideche, Souad Douibi and Kaci Ould Ali.
Of the six visual artists exhibited #OCCUPYARABART was particularly drawn to the work of artist and designer Hania Zaazoua ‘Princess Zazou’ (b. 1976, Algiers, Algeria). The series titled Import – Export, 2015, is an explosion of colour, pattern, image and icon, generating limitless interpretation.
The series compiles of 4 parts, with Zaazoua inviting us on dream like pictorial stroll.
Hania Zaazoua, Import – Export, Digital Mixed Media, Algiers, 2015, 140 x 100cm x 4
The series is a teasing exploration of an alternative, unseen version of the Algerian society Zaazoua lives in. The artist duplicates and layers images, formatting codes and creating double meaning.
Each of the four works has a key element that explores a specific aspect of contemporary Algerian society. Whether it be a message to Algerian men and their almost sacred love and devotion for football, a jab at political authoritative figures, the negative impact of media and ‘image’ on a new generation or the placement of women in a contemporary Algerian society.
Import – Export is an explorative place for interchanging thoughts, in a world of border control, the artist aims to surpass barriers through ideas an offer her experience of Algeria to a wider audience. As a viewer we are drawn into each piece but are also engaged to view the series holistically. Reoccurring imagery; such as the fish represent travelling ideas; another symbol of the concept of freedom of borders.
“Zaazoua aims to deconstruct but not destroy clichés and codes that are imposed to us as citizens. We can recreate sense of nonsense by grinding the ideas we are given.”
Zaazoua also founded Brokk’art and has collaborated with designers Bergson and Jung.