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New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK, Cornerhouse, Manchester, April 8-June 5 2011

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  • New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK, Cornerhouse, Manchester, April 8-June 5 2011


    April 7, 2011 -- An exhibition by Algerian, French and British artists - depicting Algeria’s war ravaged history and changing politics - is opening tomorrow (8 April) at Manchester’s Cornerhouse. The show - called New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK – is curated by Dr Joseph McGonagle, from The University of Manchester and Dr Edward Welch, from Durham University. Among the subjects illustrated by the ten artists are everyday Algerian life and the Algerian War when up to a million people died. They also probe current relations in a globalised era, as the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence approaches.

    Using a variety of media including video, maps, photographs of the disappeared, documentary photography and installation - the free exhibition will run until June 5. The exhibition is part of a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Dr McGonagle, who is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies in the French-speaking world at The University’s School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, said: “Algeria is a gateway between Africa and Europe but has been ravaged by violence over the past half-century. Many thousands of lives were lost in the Algerian War from 54-62, and the Algerian Civil War between 1992 and 2002. Now, Algeria has become a favoured diplomatic partner in the American-led ‘war on terror’, and an increasingly privileged trade partner of the UK as civil unrest and social turmoil convulses much of North Africa. These ten emerging and established contemporary artists based in France, Algeria, and the UK react to these seismic shifts.”

    The artists include:

    Algerian photographer Omar D, who documents the lives and traces of the disappeared during the Algerian civil war.

    French photojournalist Sophie Elbaz, who explores her family's Sephardic Jewish origins in Algeria.

    Algerian Amina Menia who has made a series of large scale photo-monuments to commemorate those killed during the Algerian War.

    British documentary and fine art photographer John Perivolaris, who documents a month-long photographic and multimedia journey from the UK to Algeria.

  • #2
    Mark Sheerin, April 21, 2011:


    Pinning down a pivotal country with a population of 35 million would be a challenge for most. For the organisers of an art group show, it must be near impossible. Like most exhibitions in a venue this size, New Cartographies was about two years in the making. Yet in the last four months, Algeria has seen demonstrations, rioting, and the lifting of a 19-year state of emergency. And that is the least of it, when you look at goings on in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Curators Dr Joseph McGonagle and Dr Edward Welch must have felt North African sands were shifting under their feet. And visitors can now look for prescient signs of the biggest political stories of 2011 in their show. Photographer Bruno Boudjelal, for example, makes work about his relationship with his father and so perhaps authority in general. Graphic artist Zinnedane Bessai is a graphic artist who looks at contemporary life in Algeria and cultural exchange with other countries. But much of the work in the show is concerned with the 1962 fight for independence from France, which left more than a million Algerians dead. Amina Menia and Omar D both use photography to commemorate and record those losses. London-based Zineb Sedira and Manchester-to-Maghreb travelogger John Perivolaris are among the remaining six artists in this show. But not all could make the opening, since Greek-born Bessai was refused a visa. Call it a cartographical diffculty.

    Open 12pm-8pm Tuesday-Saturday (until 6pm Sunday) Admission free

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