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The Art of Painting in Algeria

    The art of painting is definitely not foreign of the Algerian soil. As evidence, thousands of engravings and rock paintings that depict our ancestors’ life in the prehistoric period in the Tassili Mountains attest to the roots of the practice of this art in the cultural traditions of our country. Actually, such terrific paintings have always fascinated successive generations of painters who found them as an inexhaustible source of inspiration which helped Algeria to open itself to universality in a deeply human dimension. 

    An artistic trend will soon be born in Algeria giving birth to shining names to emerge. In this phase, the Algerian painters depicts the affirmation of identity passes through the valorization of the Islamic heritage .Such paintings are well depicted in Racim work and his followers like Sahraoui, Temmam  and Djaout .Their works are a reflection of certain stages in the evolution of the country. 

    Followed by a figurative painting that depicts the lived experience of Algeria in its daily struggle for freedom which is highly presented in the works of Issiakhem and Bachir... 

The Algerian war is well presented in the eyes of the Algerian painters of that period. They treated it from the artistic production. They used the art of painting as a form of resistance because it suggests and makes visible the unacknowledged, hidden and keeps vigilant on the side of life. They are the history painters through their paintings that tried to clarify and show the tragedy of war .They exploited their work of painting as a historical material that are considered as a trustworthy testimony. Thus, the theme of the Algerian War has given birth to rich works, crossed by all the artistic currents that the twentieth century has known.

    In addition to another trend which is marked by softness and which is embodied by Baya Benaoura and Anissa Bouayed that enriched the Algerian pictorial heritage with hundreds remarkable works. Another trend emerged in the evolution of pictorial art in Algeria. Guermaz Benanteur, Khadda, Aksouh are at the origin of the emergence of abstract painting. This was born from the encounter of the abstract graphic expression of Islam with Western abstraction. The most works of these painters make the war return in their paintings.

   Besides the tragedy of war, the trauma awoke again among the Algerian painters of the 1990’s. Colonial violence and violence of a quasi-civil war reactivated in recent works. The Algerian painters of the 1990’s painted horror and absurdity in tragic works that reconnect with those of Issiakhem, Khadda, Benanteur,... 

   Paintings are the moment of truth and pieces of living memory which testify the richness of the Algerian cultural heritage. In common, all painters are concerned with the society in which they live and denounce segregation, racism and the injustices that divide the communities Algeria. Sometimes, the painter renders his work difficult to understand which make his work more innovative and unprecedented (sublime and complex) and, then, it is up to you to decode it. But nothing is more picturesque in Algeria than painting.  

In recent years, young talents have been discovered using a variety of materials in which the traditional heritage and the most modern techniques of expression are blended harmoniously.

The Art of Painting in Algeria (Written by ARAB Sabrina)

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