The Women of Algiers in their New Apartments
(a photo-series by Lydia Saidi)
In order to paint ‘Algerian women in their Apartment’, French artist Eugène Delacroix made a ‘swift’ visit to an Algerian harem, in the year 1833, three years after the beginning of the French invasion of Algeria. Although no one was allowed to enter the chambers of the harem, Delacroix obtained the approval of a patriarch, who opened his doors to him for a short time. The artist drew sketches of what he saw in the place and continued to work on his famous painting, in Paris, relying on French models. Since then, the same title was seen in many other artworks, such as Picasso’s painting ‘Women of Algeria’ during the liberation revolution or the early-1980s writer Assia Djebar’s book The Women of Algeria in their Apartment. This series of photos uses the same title, but depicts women actually in their own new apartments in the capital city. Following the photo-session, each woman was asked to write a small text where they reflect on being a woman living alone in present-day Algiers.
Artist Biography: Lydia Saidi is a photographer and image archivist. Her work focuses on themes such as the condition of women and the archives of slavery in Algeria. She also works on digital projects to promote heritage and pool knowledge.