Africa News When Algeria Abruptly Cancelled its Venice Biennale Debut, Five...

When Algeria Abruptly Cancelled its Venice Biennale Debut, Five Young Artists Decided Their Show Must Go On


- Advertisment -

A group of young Algerian artists have unveiled a guerrilla pavilion in Venice after officials in the politically unstable country abruptly cancelled what would have been its first official participation in the Venice Biennale. 

Politicians in the North African country cut the funding for the Algeria pavilion without warning two days after the fall of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in early April. The five participating artists and the pavilion’s curator, who were not consulted before the new ministry of culture made its announcement, decided to take matters into their own hands. With only weeks to go before the biennale’s all-important preview week, they launched a fundraising campaign to create an unofficial Algeria pavilion. They successfully raised just enough money thanks to sympathetic sponsors.

Their Venice exhibition, which is titled “Time to Shine Bright,” features work by Amina Zoubir, Rachida Azadou, Hamza Bounoua, Mourad Krinah, and Oussama Tabti. Speaking to artnet News, Amina Zoubir explained that the artists are part of a generation who took part in the “Hirak” movement, taking to the streets to demand political and democratic change. The protests led to the country’s 82-year-old president stepping down on April 2 after two decades in power.

The interim Algerian government announced that the country’s first Venice pavilion would be postponed until 2021 via Facebook, citing financial and organizational problems. The pavilion’s curator, Hellal Mahmoud Zoubir, told The Art Newspaper at the time that the artists in the exhibition “don’t agree with the ministry’s action,” and said they would seek alternative funding for their participation. True to his word, the pavilion opened yesterday, May 9, in a space not far from the Giardini, with the only key difference being that it is no longer part of the official biennale program.

A work by Oussama Tabti at the Algeria Pavilion. Photo by Naomi Rea.

Although Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962, it has never previously shown at the world’s most prestigious art exhibition. Amina Zoubir says that political instability should not be an excuse to extinguish their creative light. “We are artists, not politicians,” she says.

Resistance and resilience is a theme of the works on show, and the curator, who is Amina Zoubir’s father, explains in the curatorial text for the exhibition that it was a direct response to the theme chosen by the biennale’s artistic director, Ralph Rugoff: “May You Live in Interesting Times.” Hellal Mahmoud Zoubir writes that it: “Challenged me and evoked the immediate reality of Algerian society, and the news that punctuates this moment of transformation.” Amid the darkness of existential emptiness, he writes, “it is high time for us to sparkle with our light.”

The Algeria Pavilion,  “Time to Shine Bright.” May 11 through November 24 at Fondamenta S. Giuseppe 925, Venice.

Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest news

Solar power station coming to Norgold’s Burkina Faso mines

Essakane solar plant. Image by Norgold. Nordgold announced Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with Total Eren, an independent power producer specializing in renewable energies...

Monrovia Renewal Continues With Water Line Improvements

Monrovia’s infrastructure upgrades continue. – Photo by Terry Miller During the past month, several projects...


Saharawi poet Bachir EdkhilThe Saharawi poet Bachir Edkhil speaks...

MM. El Malki et Benchamach à Tunis pour représenter SM le Roi à la cérémonie d’investiture du Président Kaïs Saïed

mardi, 22 octobre, 2019 à 23:04 Tunis- Les présidents de la Chambre des représentants, M. Habib El Malki...

Itinérances ou cinquante ans de photographies réalisées au Maroc

Dans La dépêche, l’artiste explique qu’au-delà de la simple photographie, ses images cherchent avant tout à donner et à...

Qatar Executive announced as launch customer for all-new Gulfstream G700

On the eve of the 2019 National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Gulfstream has unveiled...

Must read

Solar power station coming to Norgold’s Burkina Faso mines

Essakane solar plant. Image by Norgold. Nordgold announced Tuesday it has...

Monrovia Renewal Continues With Water Line Improvements

Monrovia’s infrastructure upgrades continue....
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you