women*, resistance, queer alliance

Visual design: Tewa Barnosa



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women*, resistance, queer alliance

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Algeria's independence from France, “Moudjahidate* - women*, resistance, queer alliance” honours the commitment of women* fighters in the struggle for freedom and autonomy for their people and themselves. The exhibition creates a space for all women* who contributed to liberating land with their bodies, minds and power.

from Nadja Makhlouf - Invisible to Visible

During French colonization, Frantz Fanon wrote in “Algeria Unveiled” (1965) how France sought to maintain its colonial hold through Algerian women*: “‘if we want to destroy the structure of Algerian society, its capacity for resistance, we must first of all conquer the women; we must go and find them behind the veil where they hide themselves and in the houses where the men keep them out of sight’.” The famous propaganda ‘Aren't you pretty, reveal yourself’ boldy portrays patriarchal domination over Algerian Muslim women*.

Since the dawn of time, bodies of women* are a territory in its own right, seeking to decolonize, to break the walled silences surrounding it, to stand on the front of the stage. Their spirit seeks to inhabit a body that is self-determined, dresses according to its own rules – embodies women* at the origin of the world and honouring who they are.   

On 1st November, marking the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence 68 years ago, “Moudjahidate* – women*, resistance, queer alliance” present works of three artists of Algerian descent whose works center the lived experiences of women* in (post-)war Algeria: Nadja Makhlouf, Sarah El Hamed and Maya Inès Touam

from Sarah El Hamed – Au Nom du Peuple (On behalf of the people)

Artistic direction: Louna Sbou
Curatorial team: Dami Choi, Rebecca Odewole
Co-curation: Nadja Makhlouf
Project design: Tewa Barnosa
Communication: Tariq Bajwa, Gisèle Moro, Nicola Reißer


_Nadja Makhlouf (co-curator)

Invisible to Visible, photographic diptychs, print on paper, 60×40 cm, 2011 – 2014.

Nadja Makhlouf is a Franco-Algerian photographer and filmmaker. Her work specifically addresses key issues surrounding the role of memory, history and social change in relation to the position of women* in Algerian society.

With her photographic work, Nadja Makhlouf focuses on retracing the journey of fifteen Moudjahidate*, who were actively engaged in different aspects of the Independence movement, including logistics, armed struggles, care-taking and political leadership. In her photographic diptychs, Nadja brings the past and the present to life in the same sphere by juxtaposing a set of black and white portraits of women* fighters. The placid bodies, contradicting the tensed gaze, manifest the determination of the women* who fought against French colonialism with the vivid imagination of a better future.

Instagram, Website

_Sarah El Hamed

Au Nom du Peuple (In the name of the people), video projection, 10 min, Algiers, 5 July 2019
Au Nom du Peuple (In the name of the people), Algerian flag, 6 x 3 m, Paris, June 2019

Sarah El Hamed is a Franco-Algerian performance artist, director and mixed media storyteller in whose works memory and participation play an important role. This is transported through various forms of media such as live performance and public intervention.

Sarah El Hamed is a Franco-Algerian performance artist, director and mixed media storyteller in whose works memory and participation play an important role. This is transported through various forms of media such as live performance and public intervention. The multimedial installation, consisting of a video work accompanied by a 6x3 meter Algerian flag, is a tribute to the Moudjahidate and to the Algerian people. The public intervention “Au Nom du Peuple” (2019) took place in the streets of Algiers on 5th July 2019 during the Marches. The artist invites people around her to join the ‘collective sewing’ of an Algerian flag, an object which embodies the anticolonial spirit of Algerian people, while engaging in a conversation with them about the past and future of their country. The intervention represents women*’s role in mobilising people for the resistance, while questioning the (in)visibility of Algerian women* and reclaiming their space in society.

Instagram, Website

_Maya Ines Touam

Revealing the Fabric, multi-channel image projection and texts, 2014-2018

Maya Inès Touam conducts anthropological and dreamlike research, using different media such as photographs, drawings, sculptures and personal or symbolic objects. She has extended her research to the diasporas of the African continent with a postcolonial perspective on immigration.

“Revealing the fabric” presents three photographs of women* in Haïk accompanied by a collection of texts of interviews with these women*. Haïk is a traditional cloth-veil from the Maghreb region and is the symbol of intangible Algerian heritage. It played a key role during the “Battle of Algiers'' (1956 to late 1957) by allowing women* to shield themselves from the gaze of the colonizer. They could carry weapons, letters and medicine under the Haïk without being noticed. The Haïk inherently embodies Algerian women*’s resistance against French colonialism.  

Instagram, Website  

The discursive program Maghreb* alike takes place from Nov 1-6, 2022 at Oyoun and celebrates the Algerian and North African liberation by highlighting herstories and futures of woman*hood and queer*feminist perspectives in the Maghreb region.

The discursive program is one accompanying the exhibition “Moudjahidate* - women*, resistance, queer alliance” with a number of events reflecting on how imperialism, colonialism and lateral oppression operate to this date while exploring the many ways we build friendships and care for one another.

There will be exhibition tours, artist talks, waacking dance workshop, performances, concerts, an afterparty and community brunch. 

The program aims to strengthen transnational solidarity and create space for diasporic exchange and empowerment while organically encountering and seeing one another - on carpets, drinking tea or sharing a smoke.

Featuring: Habibitch, Badiaa Bouhrizi, Kenza Mala Badi, Leila Moon, Aïda Salander, Out of Time Embassy, ​​Liaam Iman, Louna Sbou as well as exhibiting artists Nadja Makhlouf, Maya Inès Touam and Sarah El Hamed.

dates + line up

Tue. 1 November

18:00   Opening with Nadja Makhlouf, Maya Inès Touam and Sarah El Hamed
19:30 Artist talk followed by Q&A

Wed. 2 November

18:00 Exhibition Tour with Artists
19:30   Waacking dance workshop by Habbitch

Thu. 3 November 

18:00 Exhibition Tour with Artists
19:00 p.m. Conversation Demystifying woman*hood – realities in (post)colonized North Africa with Kenza Mala Badi, Louna Sbou, Badiaa Bouhrizi, Nadja Makhlouf, Sarah El Hamed, Maya Inès Touam 
21:00 concert from Badia Bouhrizi

Fri. 4 November

18:00 Exhibition Tour with Artists
21:30   Sonic Intervention feat. Liam Iman

Sat. 5 November

18:00 Exhibition Tour with Artists
20:30 performance “War on Bodies” by Kenza Mala Badi
21:30 - 03:00 after party with Leila Moon + Aïda Salander

Sun. 6 November

10:00 - 15:00 Community brunch and get together


_Habbitch is a non-binary artist, voguing and waacking dancer of Franco-Algerian origins. As a queer feminist decolonial activist, they transform dance floors into political spaces.  

_Badia Bouhrizi is a singer-songwriter and composer from Tunisia. With her musical talent, she campaigns for social justice and the values ​​of pluralism and democracy. 

_Sonic Intervention is a project that grew organically out of a need to create a community with and for people through music. Out of time embassy will offer an immersive audiovisual performance that explores the sensory perceptions of ritual relationships while invoking their embodied memory to create a space that stirs the imagination.

_Liaam Iman is a Berlin-based singer-songwriter, performer and percussionist and invites people on a journey through ancestral poetic landscapes, multiple vocal ranges and polyrhythmic drumming, inspired by North African, Celtic, and Balkan music, invoking silenced voices and stories for a moment of togetherness and remembrance.

_Kenza Mala Badi is a gender non-conforming performance artist, writer and political activist from Morocco. Mala develops performances and texts from her daily-life experiences. Mala wants to amplify the visibility of North African queer & trans* amazigh, muslim and refugee communities.  

_Aida Salander is a Tunisian multidisciplinary artist living in Paris. She translates through her sets her emotions and interactions with her surroundings, or what she defines as "the vibe". She goes subtly from chill rave to psychedelic trance, from house to techno, with detours through Raï, or vintage and popular hits from the oriental and north African scene. 

_Leila Moon is a Songwriter, Producer and DJ specialising in funk, disco, raï, gnawa, afrobeat, r’n’b, mahraganat, electronic and house. Born to an Algerian mother and Morrocan father, she grew up watching anime and bollywood, listening to raï music, arab pop, french chansons, american folk and jazz. By songwriting and producing, music connected her with her roots and the desire to share it with others molded her identity.