Moudjahidate* – women*, resistance, queer alliance

#SaveTheDate – Berlin! An exhibition with artworks by Nadja Makhlouf, Sarah El Hamed and Maya Inès Touam. Co-curated by Nadja Makhlouf! In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France, “Moudjahidate* – women*, resistance, the queer alliance” honours the commitment of women* fighters in the struggle for freedom and autonomy for their people and themselves. The exhibition creates a space for all women* who contributed to liberating land with their bodies, minds and power.

During French colonization, Frantz Fanon wrote in “Algeria Unveiled” (1965) how France sought to maintain its colonial hold through Algerian women*: “‘if we want to destroy the structure of Algerian society, its capacity for resistance, we must, first of all, conquer the women; we must go and find them behind the veil where they hide and in the houses where the men keep them out of sight.” The famous propaganda ‘Aren’t you pretty, reveal yourself’ boldly portrays patriarchal domination over Algerian Muslim women*.

Since the dawn of time, the bodies of women* are territory in their own right, seeking to decolonize, to break the walled silences surrounding it, and to stand on the front of the stage. Their spirit seeks to inhabit a body that is self-determined, dresses according to its own rules – embodies women* at the origin of the world and honouring who they are.

On 1st November, marking the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence 68 years ago, “Moudjahidate* – women*, resistance, the queer alliance” presents works of three artists of Algerian descent whose works centre the lived experiences of women* in (post-)war Algeria: Nadja Makhlouf, Sarah El Hamed and Maya Inès Touam.

Opening: 01 November 2022, 18:00 – 22:00 |
Exhibition: 02 – 30 November, 12:00 – 19:00,
Oyoun, Lucy-Lameck-Straße 32, 12049 Berlin

Free admission

Artist biographies

Nadja Makhlouf (Co-curator)
Invisible to Visible, photographic diptychs, print on paper, 60×40 cm, 2011 – 2014.

Nadja Makhlouf is a Franco-Algerian photographer and filmmaker. Her work specifically explores key questions around the role of memory, history and social change with respect to women*’s place in Algerian society.

With her photographic work, Nadja Makhlouf focuses on retracing the journey of fifteen Moudjahidate*, who were actively engaged in different aspects of the Independence movement, including logistics, armed struggles, care-taking and political leadership. In her photographic diptychs, Nadja brings the past and the present to live in the same sphere by juxtaposing a set of black and white portraits of women* fighters. The placid bodies, contradicting the tensed gaze, manifest the determination of the women* who fought against French colonialism with a vivid imagination of a better future. @nadjamakhlouf

Sarah El Hamed
Au Nom du Peuple (In the name of the people), video projection, 10 min, Algier, 5 July 2019.

Au Nom du Peuple (In the name of the people), Algerian flag, 6 x 3 m, Paris, June 2019.

Sarah El Hamed is a Franco-Algerian performance artist, director and mixed media storyteller in whose works memory and participation play an important role. This is transported through various forms of media such as live performances and public intervention.

The multimedia installation, consisting of a video work accompanied by a 6×3 meter Algerian flag, is a tribute to the Moudjahidate* and to the Algerian people. The public intervention “Au Nom du Peuple” (2019) took place in the streets of Algiers on 5th July 2019 during the Marches. The artist invites people around her to join the ‘collective sewing’ of an Algerian flag, an object which embodies the anticolonial spirit of Algerian people while engaging in a conversation with them about the past and future of their country. The intervention represents women*’s role in mobilising people for the resistance while questioning the (in)visibility of Algerian women* and reclaiming their space in society. @sarah_elhamed

Maya Inès Touam
Revealing the Fabric, multi-channel image projection and texts, 2014 – 2018.

Maya Inès Touam conducts anthropological and dreamlike research, using different media such as photographs, drawings, sculptures and personal or symbolic objects. She has extended her research to the diasporas of the African continent with a postcolonial perspective on immigration.

“Revealing the fabric” presents three photographs of women* in Haïk accompanied by a collection of texts of interviews with these women*. Haïk is a traditional cloth veil from the Maghreb region and is the symbol of intangible Algerian heritage. It played a key role during the “Battle of Algiers” (1956 to late 1957) by allowing women* to shield themselves from the gaze of the colonizer. They could carry weapons, letters and medicine under the Haïk without being noticed. The Haïk inherently embodies Algerian women*’s resistance against French colonialism. @maya_ines_touam

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