Sunday, August 19, 2007

Famous Algerian Ceramic Artist: Boumehdi

Entering into Boumehdi's world is like going to the confluence of art and history, somewhere between legend and established fact, between creation and tradition. Even the least significant of his works conveys the substance of several civilizations and several centuries full of color and diversity. Let us pause however at the age of privateering, when Algiers, which reigned over the Mediterranean, enjoyed incomparable prosperity, retraced with convincing detail by the historian Fernand Braudel. Such sudden wealth was expressed by a considerable influx of money as well as objects of all kinds indispensable for sophisticated city dwellers living in a cosmopolitan society.
So it was that the patios, rooms and public places in the Casbah were full of glazed earthenware, coming from all around the Mediterranean and particularly from Italy. The walls of the white city became an immense artistic catalogue of the best specimens produced in such material, juxtaposing and sometimes mixing European and Oriental sources as well as techniques and styles of amazing diversity.
Looked at from this historical perspective, Boumehdi's work can be considered, not as a link between past tradition and present day production, but definitely more as a foundation stone for a discipline which, paradoxically, is both ancient and modern.

Preface by Zaki Bouzid
in "Boumehdi: Ceramic Art in Algeria"
Zaki Bouzid CPS Editions, Algiers, 2005.