‘Untold’: Crossed Illustrations, Violence against women and Memory

For its second show, rhizome Gallery presents Untold, a duo exhibition by Sonia Merabet and Abdo Shanan, curated by Myriam Amroun and Walid Aidoud, developed within the framework of the “Remchet 3in” project in partnership with Dima Cinéma until 8 March 2021.

Violence is an abuse. A relationship of domination. It is pernicious and imprisons its victims in silence. The after-effects do not only manifest themselves in physical assault. They spread and are suffered in the unsaid. Untold is an exhibition by Sonia Merabet and Abdo Shanan. A symbolic approach to the violence suffered and still suffered by thousands of women in Algeria and elsewhere. Crossed illustrations, of processes of psychological dis-configuration, or of hauntings evoked by the perception of a shadow, the very perception of oneself.

« Séquelles Bleues », a photographic series by Sonia Merabet

Sonia Merabet, Séquelles Bleues III, 2020 110x75 cm Subligraphie © galerie rhizome Untold: Illustrations croisées, violences féminines et mémoire
Sonia Merabet, Séquelles Bleues III, 2020. 110×75 cm Subligraphie © galerie rhizome

Sonia Merabet, was born in 1988 in Algeria where she still lives and works. Graduated in fashion design in London, photography has always been a working tool for her research and styling projects. After taking internships with fashion designers in London and New York in the months following her graduation, she returned to Algiers where she continued her practice as a stylist and photographer. In “séquelles bleues” Sonia Merabet places herself as a metronome in front of her model. She beats a measure in four beats: reiteration, movement, inertia to end with a moment of total sluggishness.

It is a combination of light and shadow to reveal conflicting and sometimes contradictory emotions simultaneously experienced in an internal struggle. It is in gravity that she fuses fear and liberation in a form of deaf poetry.

« Mémoire » a work by Abdo Shanan

This work cannot be qualified as exposable, even if it is presented . The memory is not showable. Memory is lived and often remains buried forever. Memory is evoked, reported, but not seen. So how can we present what has not been observed, or even what has been concealed?

Abdo retains his images in a closed and dark space and refrains from making prints of them, even getting rid of the materiality of the paper, so that they can be diffused in the form of rays or spectres. Abdo’s photos follow one another in recurring and irregular flashes. These are the flashes he experienced through his immersion in the details of the Wassila Network’s White Book, and the story of each victim whose story is told.

Abdo Shanan was born in 1982 in Oran, Algeria, to a Sudanese father and an Algerian mother. He studied telecommunications engineering at the University of Sirte in Libya until 2006. In 2012, he completed an internship at Magnum Photos Paris. Then, in 2015, he co-founded collective 220, a collective of Algerian photographers. Abdo Shanan adopts a methodology of documentary photography, with research, investigation and fieldwork, but he refrains from using the same tools and makes the photographic act, a committed act and a medium of analysis, more than that of detection, by taking an unpaved road, far from formalities and conventional aesthetics.

Sonia Merabet / Abdo Shanan
From 06 February to 08 March 2021
Gallery rhizome
82, rue Didouche Mourad, Algiers

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