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New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK

As North Africa shifts politically Cornerhouse focuses on the region

Published on April 7th 2011.

New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK

Algeria, a gateway between Africa and Europe, has been frequently ravaged by violence over the past half-century. Up to a million Algerians were killed in the fight for independence from France in 1962; now, as pro-democracy rallies in Algiers defy government bans, North Africa is convulsed by civil unrest and social turmoil.

In response to the historical shifts and current events in the country, New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK brings together recent work by ten emerging and established contemporary artists based in France, Algeria, and the UK. It opens at Cornerhouse, this Friday and admission is free.

Despite Algerian independence in 1962, following more than 130 years of French colonial rule, the relationship between the two countries continues to play a defining role politically, socially and culturally through migration, post-colonial antagonism, and memories of a shared colonial past.

At the same time the current decade has seen an intriguing shift in Algeria’s geo-political significance as it has become a favoured diplomatic partner in the American-led ‘war on terror’, and an increasingly privileged trading partner of the UK; this is particularly reflected in the work of artists in France, Algeria and beyond.

The participating artists are: Kader Attia, Zineddine Bessaï, Bruno Boudjelal, Omar D, Sophie Elbaz, Yves Jeanmougin, Katia Kameli, Amina Menia, John Perivolaris and Zineb Sedira.

Using a variety of media - video, maps, photographs of the disappeared, documentary photography and installation - these artists delve into the country’s troubled history and, as the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence approaches, probe current relations in an ever more globalised era.

New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK is curated by Dr Joseph McGonagle (University of Manchester) and Dr Edward Welch (University of Durham).

8 April – 5 June 2011

Cornerhouse, Manchester
7 April

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