Excited to share a wonderful interview between Marwa Arsanios and curator Fawz Kabra in which they discuss Arsanios’ recent New Commission at Art in General!

In this issue of Ibraaz, Arsanios and Kabra touch upon several projects and connect points of view on feminism, Al-Hilal magazine publications in the 50s–60s, performance, and destroyed bodies and architectures that mark the remnants of violence induced on the human body by modernization.

Above: Marwa Arsanios, OLGA’s NOTES, the library (installation view), 2013. Books and display. Courtesy the artist and Art in General. Photo: Charles Benton.

Zineb Sedira in Conversation

Coline Milliard : You’ve described yourself as a gardienne de mémoire , a guardian of memory. Do you feel that the preservation and the transmission of memory is one of your roles as an artist? Zineb Sedira : It’s my role as an artist and as a mother. I started…

Although not all of this interview is directly related to my work, (I pulled out the relevant parts in my previous post) I found that the whole interview is so interesting. Reading of Sedira’s struggle with identity and the struggle with the Algerian art scene is really interesting. Currently Africa as a continent is starting to produce a lot of art and its curious o hear about the lack of art coming out of Algeria. Sedira explains her theories behind why there is a severe lack of art and also goes on to explain her plans to make a permanent space for art and to get the Algerian population interested in art. I found this interview really inspiring as I heard how passionate Sedira was about her home nation and art, these two aspects are very relevant to her work and is an underlying theme throughout many of her pieces.

14th January 2015

Screen Printing Day 9

Today I have been doing a lot of research into the work of Zineb Sedira and I also booked a short session in the screen printing room to expose my screen so that I can print tomorrow. I found this interview that Sedira did for www.ibraaz.org I found it so inspiring and interesting the way that she talks about her work with such passion is incredible. I love how she documents her family history and draws from personal experience and circumstance to create her beautiful pieces of work. Sedira’s work is very culturally orientated as she says in the interview how she went through a time at art school where she was trying to found out where she fit in whether she was Algerian, British or French. As Sedira came from such a rich cultural background she wanted to know where she stood and I think that this is something that I personally will never experience, but after looking a Sedira’s work I Know more about how this journey of self discovery feels.

Coline Milliard: You’ve described yourself as a gardienne de mémoire, a guardian of memory. Do you feel that the preservation and the transmission of memory is one of your roles as an artist?

Zineb Sedira: It’s my role as an artist and as a mother. I started thinking about oral history and the passing on of culture and traditions when I had my first daughter in 1991. Being born in France myself, I felt somewhat removed from my parents’ culture and I understood that, being born in England, my children would be further removed from their Algerian identity.

Around that time, I was also thinking about the role of women as passeuses de mémoire, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. When my parents were growing up in French Algeria in the 1930s and 1940s, there were no schools in the countryside – my parents can’t read or write – knowledge was transmitted orally. I remember sitting by my mother or my grandmother as they were telling us stories, real or invented. They also told us about Algerian history and how they experienced it. Over the years, I became a good listener and, later, a storyteller.


Zineb Sedira is an artist whom mainly draws from her only personal and family history and I think it is really admirable, brave, to show the world who you are and where you come from. Sedira mainly focusses on how information and culture travels from one generation to the next, this was a similar theme to my Piece ‘The UK In Chains’ as its a topic that our generation now tends to avoid yet it is part of our nations history and is indeed still a huge part of society today. Because we as a nation don’t talk about slavery it means not much happens to prevent it, it is a subject that we can no longer afford to stay silent about and is something that I aim to raise awareness of, through my art work.

View this video and more at http://www.ibraaz.org/news/87

HOW DO WE THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE?  Ibraaz lectures on future speculations: 

‘What is at stake in articulating propositions on the future?’, 'What kind of language can be used to describe the as yet unknown ways of being in the future?’, 'Why do we rely so much on future orientated goals rather than the realities of the here and now?’, and finally, 'Why is the future not what it used to be?’


“Restaging the (Objective) Violence of Images: Reza Aramesh in Conversation with Anthony Downey,”  from Ibraaz. See article and interview at Ibraaz.org.

With the benefit of hindsight, what role does new media play in artistic practices, activism, and as an agent for social change in the Middle East and North Africa today?

Basim Magdy

Every Subtle Gesture, 2012 - ongoing Color prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper and Letterpress silver text (detail), 52 x 45 cm (framed) Courtesy artSümer, Istanbul

Shining a spotlight on something in order to ‘make it visible’ is a task indeed. It does not only entail personal and professional risk but also demands courage and responsibility. The ethics of monstration (on behalf of those whose intention is precisely that - to make sense of vision, to give sense to the invisible) comes from a 'monstrous’ viewpoint: the viewpoint that designates each image in its form of monstrance (or pattern) and endows each image with quality and power of display.[1]

The following questions, in that regard, I find of significance to Ibraaz’s Platform 004: firstly, in a revolutionary context, what kind of relationship do the image and the gaze have toward a people’s movement for freedom? Secondly, what role can be taken by the gaze (be it optical or mechanical) and image (still and moving images) within socio-political conditions recognised as 'revolutionary movements’? And finally, regarding micro-processes of individuals’ dissidence toward the social environment to which they belong, what kind of knowledge can be deduced by the image and gaze of a single person? Here, under the notion of the individual, I understand those singular subjects who - via unconventional modes of civil protest (among them most notably the private and public forms of self-sacrifice rituals) - act and take part in mass mobilisation, and who do so against political status quo while consciously or unconsciously contributing to changes of a higher level of meaning (collective, national, regional, and transnational).

I had no idea of the torture-culture in Algeria during the liberation war until the first printed material around the subject of such atrocities came to my hands last year (Quand la France torturait en Algérie, edited by Algerian historian and journalist Hamid Bousselham).[2] In front of insulting scenes of torture exercised by French soldiers over the Algerian population during the Independence War (1954-1962), I am trying to understand the attempts by a war photographer to negotiate, in the contested field of vision, at least two significant points: (1) a set of personal and political circumstances under which resistance takes place through the production of visuality (where the war among images is being waged simultaneously with military operations on the battlefield), and (2) a kind of singular/individual mode of resistance taking place in-between the photographer’s eye/camera-lens, on the one hand, and his/her desire to look at what is supposed to remain hidden and forbidden from public view.

We shall, I believe, pay particular attention in future to the following: the role that human vision has played in previous revolutionary events and what role it is still able to play - via image recording - in the context of the Algerian war of independence as a mode of thinking about revolutionary gaze in our own times. Fifty years ago, the photographic apparatus was a means to claim the right to look - to look at modes of living under colonial domination but also, and even more importantly, at human suffering and humiliation in occupied territories across North Africa (as well as in the Middle East today). If there is one thing, regarding the humiliation and torturing of a population by a colonising power, to be stressed at this point, it shall be this: I believe that the gaze itself, recorded by technological apparatus, becomes one of the crucial features pointing out the conditions under which an open secret finds a channel of symbolic (and also potentially real) revelation. Photography opens up the viewing frame (otherwise limited by an unbearable relationship of domination) and turns silenced injustice of dependence into a call for action, through a public display of images brought to light by the agency of a photographer’s gaze.

[1] Nancy, Jean-Luc, 'Image and Violence’, in The Ground of the Image, Jeff Fort (trans.), New York: Fordham University Press (2005), p. 22.   [2] Bousselham, Hamid, Quand la France torturait en Algérie [French edition], Algiers: Editions Rahma (2001).


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Marko Stamenkovic is an art historian, critic and curator, born 1977 in Vranje (Serbia), and now based in Ghent (Belgium). He is a member of IKT - International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (Lichtenstein). Stamenkovic holds a BA in Art History from the University of Belgrade - Faculty of Philosophy, History of Modern Art Department (BA Thesis: 'Theory of Gaze and Reading of the Image’, 2003; an MA in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management (UNESCO), from the University of Arts in Belgrade - Interdisciplinary Studies accredited by the University Lyon 2 (MA Thesis: 'Status of Curatorial Practices in Post-socialist Conditions’, 2005), and since 2011, a  PhD from the University of Ghent - Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry (Doctoral Thesis: 'Suicide Cultures. Theories and Practices of Radical Withdrawal - A Transnational Cultural and Media Paradigm [2001-2011’]).


Word Stress: In conversation with Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2012)

This film was made for the launch of Platform 3 of Ibraaz and is an interview-based profile of the latest exhibition by artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself at The Showroom, London.

Many thanks to Anthony Downey, Michelle Schultz, Laura Allsopp, Nour Sacranie, Emily Pethick and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.