Art as the Algerians’ Means of Resistance

Culture is usually regarded as a tangible depiction of the human person. It is the bonafide identity of a given society. If we are able today to understand the previous civilizations, it is thanks to their cultural legacy. Century after century, we got to know lots about the former people through their cultures, represented in their architecture, drawings, literature, and lately via music. So, while paintings transmit a message that describes people’s existences, music, on the other hand, has always been the voiceless voice, mirroring people’s lives.

Albeit Algeria is the biggest country in the Middle East and Africa, it is still mainly a deserted area.  However, this did not prevent its primeval people from adapting to the weather and let a fantastic range of rock paintings in the Hoggar mountains. These works of art detail which style of life the people inhabited the region for several centuries were having. It is like an open museum that portrays an era in Algeria’s history, where the visitor can get to see which animals existed back then, how the people were haunting them, and what kind of tools they were using to do so.

Algerian women have a unique way of dressing that they inherited from their ancestors’ generation after generation. During the Algerian War of Independence, women protected themselves by tattooing their faces to look ugly, and no one can look at them. This practice was one of the habits that older women used to apply to their girls to protect them, yet it became vogue in the 1950s. Not only that, Hayek is a particular dress that women from Algeria used to wear in order to preserve their beauty; it is a white garment that has a rectangular shape and covers the woman’s body.

During the 1990s, Algeria lived the black days of terrorism, where every single minute, a person was getting murdered just because they wanted to live freely. At that time, an emerging type of music was tuning in trend, giving people an extent to forget a bit about T.V’s bloody news and lose sight of their daily struggles.Rai music,or Opinion in English, is a musical genre sung by Algerian singers to portray the misfortune, the hurdle, and the darkness the people were facing at that time.

While people were afraid of leaving their houses, Rai singers were challenging the norms imposed by terrorists and kept singing for people and sending hope messages. The price was high, as many singers got murdered. Nevertheless, it had not prevented singers from fighting for the message they believed in; art is the voice of those who do not have one.

Throughout history, Algerians have utilized art as a means of survival. Generation after generation, women, and men kept displaying their resistance through artistic manifestations, from rock paintings, way of dressing to music; art was their escape.

The World Youth Alliance gives high importance to art through organizing a set of events. One to be mentioned is The International Arts Forum, an annual conference that gathers artists and intellectuals; it explores the kinship between art and human beings. By enrolling in the WYA’s Certified Training Program, participants will get the chance to get to deal with a chapter dedicated mainly to Culture. While taking the program, Trainees will get the chance to dive deep into culturally-based topics related to WYA’s mission.

Published: March 26, 2021
Written by Zakarya Ameur-Said, a WYAMENA Regional Online Intern.