The sense of Algerian identity permeated through the art of Leila Bakouche.

Leila Bakouche photographic storytelling practice creates a parallel dialogue around Algerian identity and intrinsic human behaviors.

Joana Alarcão

When I look through an artist's creation, I immediately have the urge to inquire about the endless metamorphosing being that embodies it, hoping to create a sense of understanding and connection. It is a simple inquiry, and certainly a usual one, but when the work illustrates the identities and culture of a nation, the answers seem to escape one's grasp.

Even though I conjured what I call the baseline questions: what are the personal atmospheres of the artists?; How is the social-political atmosphere of their homeland?; How does it correlate with their identity?. Sometimes these questions are never answered and understood due to the diverse and deeply rooted characteristics within the artist's identity that make up the answers. You must be willing to scratch beyond the surface if you wish to create genuine understanding, and here I pose the question. How can an artist not be affected by the instability of a country or society?


Spirit by Leila Bakouche. Image courtesy of Leila Backouche.

I found a parallel consideration around the subject in the photographic practice of Leila Bakouche, whose storytelling methods draw a realistic and opinionated conception of Algerian identity and intrinsic human behaviors. As the name suggests, the photographer's collection is inquisitive about the artist's unique perspectives and her unwavering commitment to formulate an answer to what unconsciously disturbs her identity and her surroundings.

“As a woman artist, I feel like being an artist gives me the chance to go beyond my ideas and express all that I need to say,” Bakouche expresses. “At the same time, as women artists, we have fewer opportunities than men. I feel like I should double my efforts to make my project happen.”

Bakouche's collection is not a mere documentation of what political and social atmospheres she encounters as she walks through the walled streets of Algeria but, instead, a factual investigation into a series of questions the artist poses to herself confronted with the surrounding world with which she inevitably interacts.


Research by Leila Bakouche. Image courtesy of Leila Backouche.

The attraction for photography started in 2011 when Bakouche joined a photography club called Equinoxe. In some ways, the initial appeal and the artist's high sensitivity began to shape each other: the more she depicted her surroundings, which served as both inspiration and subject matter, the more investigative she became. In the work entitled Raw, we can witness the physical interpretation of these notions.

One of Bakouche's goals for the project Raw, as documentary research, lies in creating a conversation around Algerian youth's contrasting hopes and realities. As we go through the photographic collection, we can pick a restless necessity to assemble a parallel dialogue and reimagine the atmospheres around the subjects of identity and culture. "Raw" presents the marriage between two unique textures, both refined and raw. The first is urban, and the second is human." She told me about the project. "The photographs illustrate in the background the urban textures of Algeria which are assembled and which are not similar. Facing it is an Algerian youth, a selection of non-aligned characters different by their beliefs and cultures."


Fence by Leila Bakouche. Image courtesy of Leila Backouche.


Read more in the print edition of July/August, 2022.


Cover Image

Everywhere by Leila Bakouche. Image courtesy of Leila Backouche.


222659358_1277607689321615_4237889830631672463_n-1-2-150x150.jpg

Leila Bakouche is a photographic artist attracted by digital media arts and immersed in graphic and photographic approaches that involve the discovery and curiosity of spaces and people.

She uses the practice of storytelling to allow feelings, a collaboration between the artist and people.

See more of Bakouche Here.