Podcast: Mapping Layers of Colonial Memory into Contemporary Visual Art

24 March 2017
Speaker: Dr Amy L. Hubbell

From January to May 2016, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (known as MuCEM) in Marseille, France hosted an exhibition called “Made in Algeria: Genealogy of a Territory”. The exhibit proclaimed to be the first large-scale exposition on the Algerian territory and gathered cartographic depictions of Algeria from the earliest European encounters in the fifteenth century to twenty-first century images of an independent culture still bearing colonial remnants, with a goal to show “this long and unique process which was the impossible conquest of Algeria” (MuCEM 3). The most recent pieces, notably by artists Zineb Sedira who was born to Algerian parents in France, and Katia Kameli who has a French mother and Algerian father, show layering of colonial memory into contemporary images of the Algerian people and landscape. The exhibit, which in title wants to show the origins of the Algerian territory, is created primarily in France, for a French audience, and is built upon French imagination. By assessing the lines, grids and other marks that are still visibly mapped onto Algeria in the exhibit, this paper explores how what is in name “Made in Algeria” remains heavily marked by France.