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Murals adorn cracked walls, emerging from a crumbling Casbah. Scenes from old Algiers are frozen in ceramic tiles. Period photos still sold on the pavement. Portraits of historical figures deified. Postcards celebrate reclining beauties or disappeared  geographies. Neo-Orientalist paintings renew still lifes and odalisques from colonial pictures.

Time is frozen.

 

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In Miramar street.
In Miramar street.

 

A whole iconography refers to a mythical, magnified Algiers, dripping with nostalgia. Where the kitsch competes with folklore. Where time seems frozen. And, by a strange collision of dates, is now suspended. The clock of History has stopped. Image. Mirage.
Time is frozen.

 

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Gare d'Alger Front.
Gare d'Alger Front.

 

Mirage aggravated by electoral posters, quarreling with the walls, depicting a mummified President, nailed to a chair, rolling on the same historical sequence confiscating time and future.

Time is frozen.

 

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Gare d'Alger.
Gare d'Alger.

 

Algiers, taken in the past, becomes a huge postcard. A poster where the sea does not make waves. Where the people do not make waves. We are no longer in historical time. We are in melancholic time. Algiers is a static city. A sanctury of the past.  

Where time is frozen.

 

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Inside a hand-worker shop.
Inside a hand-worker shop.

 

There is no present and no future, just the time of faded glories and urban legends. I look at these frescoes as an urban storyboard and think: resignation. Yes. Frozen time may be the time of resignation. Resilience too. Rebirth. For a little dignity.

So that the time is never frozen.

Gare d'Alger.

Gare d'Alger.

Casbah Mise en Abyme

Casbah Mise en Abyme

Gare d'Alger.

Dans la rue.

Dans la rue.

About the artist

Amina Menia was born in 1976 in Algiers, Algeria, where she still lives and works. She studied at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Algiers and has been exhibiting her work internationally for some years. She has recently attracted support of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and she won considerable attention at last year's 1:54 African Art Fair at Somerset House. 

 

Amina Menia creates artworks that combine sculpture and installation, questioning the relation to architectural and historical spaces and challenging conventional notions around the exhibition space. Often in public spaces, her sculptural installations invite interaction from viewers through socio-spatial configurations. Grounded in the post-colonial history of her native Algiers, her work stands as an invitation to re-evaluate our understanding of heritage, and deconstruct conceptions of beauty.  Menia exhibitions include: Museum of Modern Art of Algiers (MAMA), Algeria; Carthage National Museum, Tunisia; and Castile-León Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC) in León, Spain. She also recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseilles, France, Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Ireland, and the Museum of African Design in Johannesburg, South Africa. She participated in the 11th Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates and will soon take part to the Dakar Biennial 2014.