Lydia Ourahmane’s work often initiates large, open-ended propositions that obliquely register the longings and limitations incited by colonial occupation, civil war, and the paradoxes of belief. For her first institutional solo exhibition in New York, Ourahmane and a group of collaborators will produce a new moving image work that draws from a ten-day journey on foot in Tassili n’Ajjer, a largely inaccessible plateau spanning the border between southern Algeria and Libya. An arid and inhospitable expanse of desert and wind-lashed sandstone rock formations, Tassili n’Ajjer is host to thousands of prehistoric engravings and cave paintings that describe the transformation of life in the region over thousands of years, reflecting the increasing domestication of animals in service of human progress, changing scenes of conflict and ritual, and a drastically altered ecological landscape. Ourahmane’s project offers an urgent and expansive model for revisiting sites of deep memory and recognizing a latent sense of spirituality that is simultaneously repressed and heightened in contemporary life.
Image: Lydia Ourahmane, still from scouting trip, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.