Installation view at galerie Gourvennec Ogor, Marseilles
"Minimum production Maximum expression", 2015
Courtesy the artist
Terra cotta pots, clay, ribbons and hairs,
Installation view at studio W, Pantin
"Remediate the everyday", 2015
Courtesy the artist
The theme of identity as a bond between different and conflicting cultural roots is at the heart of Sabrina Belouaar’s artistic research. A French artist of French-Algerian origin, her preferred means of analysis is that of the body and its representations. In particular, it is the figure of the woman in her various social roles that appears in many different ways in Belouaar’s art. In her works, she performs an analysis of social and political criticism, giving an idea of what Paul Gilroy referred to as the “double consciousness” of modernity, and the superimposition of identity and different cultural roots that bring about a sense of disorientation in one’s own time.
Mr Bobigny (2016) is a photograph taken by the artist
in Bobigny, a municipality on the outskirts of the metropolitan area of Paris and a place of considerable immigration and enduring poverty. The subject of the work is a black man, whom the artist met in the street and who calls himself Bobigny. He is used to wandering through the city with his arms and body covered in chains and padlocks of various sizes. As though part of a ritual attempt to ward off evil, Mr Bobigny sees chains as a means of protection against harm and as a way of asserting his identity. Psychological and social distress is thus turned into a form of emancipation and freedom, asserting the self-mastery he needs in order to go through the world and all its dangers.
Untitled (2015) works on the theme of selfrepresentation in a public place, using a metaphor to suggest the ambivalent role of femininity throughout modernity. The purity of a flower associated with royalty and majesty is thus contrasted with a more profane element, in the form of a goatskin. As a child, the artist used this as a container for fresh water in Algeria, and the skin also recalls the way men used to brand concubines and slaves, as though they were cattle, in order to confirm their ownership during the modern European age. By creating a direct relationship between the lily and the goatskin, Belouaar creates a tension between the two – between the stench of the dead animal and the
perfume of the lily, between what they are and what they are used to symbolise. What remains in the contrast between the two elements is an indictment of the manipulation of femininity, its appropriation as an object to be possessed by male culture by subjecting it to
codes of violence and abuse.