A new exhibition by French-Algerian artist Maya-Inès Touam entitled Des Rives, at Casablanca’s Villa Delaporte, aims to question perceptions of the Arab world by using a series of objects and symbols from the Arab universe.
The artist’s cultural heritage has always been omnipresent in her personal life. More recently, it’s also triggered her creative process, which is intrinsically influenced by the Arab world – its geography, its femininity, but also its limits. Her previous work entitled Révéler l’étoffe (Reveal the Cloth) explored this subject through the medium of portraiture. In her latest series, Touam—who recently won the LCC program award—decided to pay homage to still life photography by capturing objects against a set she built and designed that’s inspired by 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings.
“In my opinion, still life incarnates the archiving of time. I wanted my photographs to reveal the region’s contemporary concerns linked to its environment, globalization and the boundaries between these objects”, Touam says.
The artist uses traditional objects from North Africa such as draped cloth, balgha (Moroccan leather shoes), crockery and seasonal fruit alongside western products including an Adidas sandal, bootleg Gucci bag and an LED street sign to question our perceptions of the East and West.
“The objects I show come from everywhere. What is an object from the Arab world when it is made in Europe or China? I try to question representations of originality and cliché through objects that have different symbolism in both sides of the Mediterranean”.