Algerian contemporary art on display in New York

APS – 26 February 2020

NEW YORK – Twenty Algerian creators are taking part in a collective exhibition of Algerian contemporary art in New York, the first of its kind in the United States, say the organizers. Entitled “Waiting for Omar Gatlato” the exhibition will continue until March 15th at New York Columbia University and will consolidate the works of Algerian artists established in Algeria and those from the diaspora.

Installations, photographs and videos discussing various themes such as the experience of Algerian youth, exile or memory are among the works of these artists who, for some, experienced post-independence period during 1960s and for others the terrorism during the 1990s .

Mounir Gouri presents “Naufrage” (2016), a 9-minute video illustration that addresses the daily life of Algerian youth and their aspirations.

For her own, Amina Minia proposes “Chrysanthemum” (2010), a collection of photographs focusing on the theme of democracy, through photographs of memorials and cemeteries. The organizers consider that Algeria is working to rebuild a “post-colonial identity … with a unique artistic aesthetic, subtracted from the influence of French culture and religious extremism” which marked the 1990s .

The exhibition is named after a book by the feminist writer and activist Wassyla Tamzali, “Waiting for Gatlato, views on the Algerian cinema” (1979) in which she establishes an inventory of the 7th Algerian art of the 60s and 70s.

The organizers however deplored the “scarcity of collective exhibitions” of Algerian artists abroad, especially at American establishments, deeming “weak” the cultural and academic relations between Algeria and the United States.