Working between London and Oran, Algeria, Lydia Ourahmane’s work explores the internal and external social and political structures that govern one’s existence. Her final pieces–‘investigations’ as she calls them–are seen as the ‘debris’ of this process, normally consisting of found objects, installation, sound, video and performance which reflect themes of frustration and disillusion in the context of contemporary, postcolonial Algeria.
Key investigative work in Ourahmane’s career has been around illegal immigration from Algeria to Europe. This particular strand of enquiry began in 2013 when she encountered Houari, a refugee who had attempted the crossing with twelve friends. Her research informed many works including Too Late For Ambition (2015), Cap Blanche (2015), Proxy (2015), Haraga – The Burning (2014) and The Third Choir (2014); and led her to an investigation of human trafficking. The conception of Ourahmane’s immigration research following her experience of Houari’s story is at the core of her practice, in that each of her works is typically based on a personal encounter. In a process that certainly reflects the experiences of her subjects, Ourahmane will go to great lengths for her research, often disguising herself as various characters in order to obtain information.