The Algerian novel of Katia Kameli
The artist plays with the images of her country to awaken consciences around memory and the Algerian identity. A work to see at the Regional Center of Photography Hauts-de-France in Douchy-les-Mines.
This is the story of a kiosk in Algiers that everyone knows. This kiosk sells postcards and old photographs: the city during colonization, the various heads of state who succeeded one another at the head of the country, the traditions that sometimes date from before the colonial period … A whole condensed history of Algeria gathered on a wall in the middle of the city. Katia Kameli made a film about this kiosk. We see people buying these collector postcards while some are interviewed and tell the artist what they come looking for, what they find with these images: nostalgia, collective memory, piece of history they want to keep somewhere … The image historian Marie-José Mondzain, in another film, analyzes the images of this kiosk filmed by the artist and gives a wonderful reflection on this astonishing attempt to make history.
If Katia Kameli saw in this kiosk a great way to question the memory of her country, to go further, she herself collected postcards and made some amazing images. For this purpose, she has put together various pictures on the cover of an Algerian history book – a book that ignores a large number of historical facts – and composed a sort of patchwork of colors and varied forms to deliver a way to look at Algerian identity and memory. Beside, she designed an installation of an image: the photograph of a monument in Algiers. This monument was transformed in 1978 and, instead of destroying the old one to place a new one, the architect decided to hide it under a framework. Thus, Katia Kameli manufactured a false framework that opens and gives us postcards of the old monument. A way of seeing a piece of history buried in oblivion and against which the artist decided to make war.
Katia Kameli – À l’Ombre de l’Étoile et du Croissant / In the Shadow of the Star and the Crescent
September 22 – November 25, 2018
CRP/ Centre régional de la photographie
Galerie de l’ancienne poste
Place des Nations
59282 Douchy-les-Mines / France