Westwood Gallery is pleased to present a premiere U.S. exhibition of photographs by Lazhar Mansouri (1932-1985). Fifty five silver gelatin photographs represent a portion of over 100,000 portraits captured by this dedicated Algerian photographer. From 1950 through 1980, Mansouri photographed the inhabitants of Aïn Beïda, his home village in Northern Algeria.
About the artist
From 1950 through 1980, Lazhar Mansouri (1932-1985) photographed the inhabitants of Aïn Beïda (Aurés), his home town in Algeria. Over the years, Mansouri created more than 100,000 portraits of the local townspeople in his own studio set up in the back of a barber shop. After years of documenting, Mansouri inadvertently created a photographic archive, a legacy of images representing people and tribes rarely photographed.
The images are a commentary of the time, reflected through families, youth, tribes and military, with an emphasis on custom, kitsch, fashion and a familiar need for youth to be represented as ‘cool’. In most photographs there is rarely a smile, since it was a moment to be taken seriously, resulting in a treasured family photo. In addition to the family portraits, Mansouri took hundreds of photos of Berber women with tattooed faces. These women never took off their veil for any man, except their husband, so the photo archive Mansouri created is exceptional. Today Algerian cultural organizations value the photographs for their historic and artistic contribution.