Bruno Boudjelal Exhibition
Thomas Doubliez – TD Galerie presents
Opening: 03, October, 2013 / 18:00 – 21:00
04/10/2013 – 12/10/2013 (Sunday closed)
11:00 – 19:00
TD Galerie, 29 rue de Trévise, 75009, Paris – France (galerie-t)
With his back to Africa, looking towards the european shores of Spain and Italy, B. Boudejelal shoots as he returns to the places where the clandestine immigrants leave from. He photographs the white landscapes which synthesize in one photograph the dazzle of the light, the disappearing of the landscape and the making of memory. Initiated by François Cheval and the Niepce museum, today, this series takes its final form of 19 prints. It joins the important Algerian and African corpus of Boudjelal which since his “Disquiet Days” keeps questioning his ties north and south of the Mediterranean.
Harraga is a word in north-african Arabic that means “to burn”. That is what the young who leave the banks of Magrhreb, who burn the road, who burn their identity papers trying to reach Europe in their rickety boats are called.
From Algeria, they leave essentially from two regions, Annaba from the east to reach Sardinia, and Oran from the west to reach Spain.
These photographs were taken along the coasts of these two regions where I took a series of landscapes of the places where the “Harraga” leave from.
These departure landscapes evoke the last vision that stays in the mind of one who leaves his homeland.
*HARRAGAS & Cell phone
Before taking to sea, the « harragas » ask other Algerians living in Spain or Italy to send them Spanish or Italian SIM cards.
Once they receive these SIM cards, they put them in their cell phone before taking to sea. This way they try to navigate their way, consulting regularly their telephone to see if they have reception, and thus know if they are approaching the Spanish or Italian coastline.
The cell phone plays an important role and has an essential usage when the “harragas” attempt crossing the sea to Europe. But, it also gives them the possibility to photograph and film their trip. This allows them to keep track of their adventures that they can show or send to those who stayed home.
Coincidentally, through a friend working for a nonprofit association for the youth in Algeria « RAJ », I learned of the existence of these small films that are passed around to friends and family of those who have left to « burn the road ». Through this friend, I was about to recover a few.
The piece presented here was made from these films.
(Download the author’s bio)
Franco-Algerian. Born in 1961 in Montreuil. Lives near Paris.
As a Frenchman of Algerian origins, photography for Bruno Boudjelal is a lifestyle in which he endlessly questions his own identity and confronts us with our own.
When his father decided to return to Algeria, he went with him and began to uncover a country, a family, landscapes that spoke to him, a world scarred by violence and individuals whose conversations forced him to question his sense of self. Creating both a diary and testimony, Boudjelal travelled Algeria for ten years. He used both black and white and colour and became increasingly aware of his subjective point of view; one marked by his personal history but curious enough to bring daily life into perspective.
When his travels in Algeria were over, he structured his experiences in the form of an exhibition, a projection and a book, and then decided to concentrate on Africa. Stretched between two continents and two cultures, he is nothing less than generous and shows his capacity to understand and transcribe the complex problems between North and South.