Westwood Gallery NYC presented the premiere U.S. exhibition for Lazhar Mansouri and represents the surviving photographs and archive research.
PORTRAITS FROM AÏN BEÏDA, 1950-80
The Mansouri archive reflects the tumultuous spirit of the times and the ethnic and social make-up of the region. Through Mansouri’s studio portraits we can witness the growth of the Algerian middle class replacing the French colonists and its synchronic evolution with Europe. The photographs also reflect the military and political atmosphere of the period.
The images are a commentary of the time, reflected through families, youth, Bedouin, Imazighen (Berber), soldiers, and personal portraits, with an emphasis on custom, kitsch, fashion and a familiar need for youth to be looked upon as 'cool'. Plastic plants, columns and various patterned curtains serve as minimal backdrops in the studio and often the subjects mix Western and ethnic garb.
To inquire regarding price for limited edition prints, and to purchase any of the photographs shown below, contact the gallery at email@example.com.
© Lazhar Mansouri.
PORTRAITS OF AMAZIGH WOMEN, 1960s
During Mansouri’s lifetime, the demographic of the Aurès Mountain region saw a resurgence of Islamic culture after over 130 years of French occupation. For tribes such as the local Chaoui within the Imazighen, Mansouri's images could have been the only photograph across their entire lifetime, and inadvertently the last generation of Amazigh women to undergo facial tattooing called Ushem or Tchiradh in local dialects.
Facial tattooing was a rite of passage for young Amazigh girls often applied at the onset of puberty in transition to womanhood. The shapes, which include a sun (shams), a palm tree, a chain (cinsla), and flies (thabanat), were considered symbolic to Amazigh culture. A significant shape is the diamond or eye of a partridge (ain hijla), which takes its importance from the partridge, a bird of great grace, its sharp eyes are thought as vigilant watchers against danger.
© Lazhar Mansouri.