Interview Safia Belmenouar
Safia Belmenouar trained as a historian. Her interest in colonial photography led her to throw spotlights on the history of specific countries – Algeria, Cuba – through their iconographic representations. She is the author of Bons baisers des colonies (2007) and, among other academic publications, has participated in such collective works as L’Algérie oubliée (2004) and Rêves Mauresques (2007).
Safia Belmenouar presents her collection Greetings from the colonies at the Rencontres d’Arles 2014, with Marc Combier, a collection of postcards from the Colonies.
The postcard is part of our history, our imagination. It is also, given its extremely wide circulation, a privileged reinforcement of ideology. The postcards from the Colonies shown here were exchanged between Westerners and remained unknown by those represented on them. Through them, the homeland believed it was discovering peoples when, in fact, what it saw were mere representations.
Greetings from the Colonies looks with the eyes of today on this iconography, not ignoring the historical contexts in which it was the product of a masculine and colonial domination.
A pure construction of the gaze, the colonial postcard does not capture real women, their complexity, in a word, their otherness.
Directed by Valentin Bardawil
Greetings from the colonies at the Bureau DesLices, Rencontres d’Arles 2014.