Archives des luttes des femmes en Algérie (“Archives of women’s struggles in Algeria”) is a collective lead by Awel Haouati, Lydia Saïdi and Saadia Gacem, and an independent project whose objective is to shed light on the history of the Algerian women’s movement since 1962, which has long been marginalized and unknown. Through the construction of an open access digital archive, the project aims to make accessible a set of written, printed and visual materials produced within the framework of Algerian women’s organizations and collectives, which are today preserved by women who have participated in such mobilizations.
Launched in March 2019 in the context of the hirak (popular uprising in Algeria), the project emerged from the observation that only few resources about the history of struggles in independent Algeria exist today, and even less when it comes to those led by women for emancipation and equal rights. The material “traces” of their actions and mobilizations remain inaccessible and little known to the new generations.
In this publication, made in the framework of documenta fifteen, they relate a particularly dense and prolific part of the history of the Algerian feminist movement, from 1988 to 1993. In 1989, a brief democratic opening enabled many women’s collectives and organizations to exist legally and more freely than at the time of the single party. The publication gathers photographs and documents – some of which were fundamental in the evolution of the movement – from this period of intense political and militant activity.
From a typographic point of view, this publication (and this archive in general) might be as interesting for its layout as it is for its archived material showing, among other things, graphic material (journals, political tracts, posters, bulletins…) produced in Algeria between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.
A note: During documenta fifteen Kassel, this project (and another art piece, not linked here) brought the topic of antisemitism in the conversation through the exhibition of an issue of the Algerian feminist magazine Présence de femmes from 1988. It focuses on Palestine. The article features illustrations by Burhan Karkoutly and Naji Al-Ali criticizing the Israeli army. Those illustrations have been judged as antisemitic by a part of the audience (source: wikipedia.fr). Here is the answer given by the collective.