Waiting for Omar Gatlato: Contemporary Art from Algeria and Its Diaspora

Waiting for Omar Gatlato: Contemporary Art from Algeria and Its Diaspora


[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Natasha
Marie Llorens, and I’m the curator
of this exhibition, Waiting for Omar Gatlato. The way the title works is that
it asks the viewer a question. Who is Omar Gatlato? Why are we waiting for him? Where is he? Is he Algerian? There are all kinds
of questions that are opened up by just the
notion of waiting for something. I think each artist
in this exhibition has his own idea
of what is Algeria. And that is very
interesting to represent Algeria in this diversity
and complex composition. The show is pretty evenly
split between artists that are based in Algeria, and
then the other half of the show are artists who are based in
the diaspora, largely in France. So their experiences of their
art scenes are really diverse. This is called CV. It’s a work by Adel Bentounsi. And on the surface of
the pressure cooker, there are these
bilingual decals. And that’s a really
common thing to find on a lot of computer
keyboards in North Africa, because they’re constantly
toggling between French and Arabic, both of which
are official languages of the country. If you think of North
Africa, you think of Morocco, you think of Tunisia, and
then you think of Algeria, because we’ve heard more
about what’s been going on in the other two countries. Now there are reasons
for that having to do with the politics of Algeria. But this is really
an opportunity to sort of break open some of
the boundaries and barriers that have been
placed in front of us and in front of these
artists, and to start to understand where
their work is coming from and what it’s about. The thing that brings
all of these works together is their
commitment to thinking about what happens
on a day-to-day basis for ordinary people. And in that sense, I think
it’s a show that you can meet, because it’s not talking about
things that you need to know in advance in order to get. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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