by Sabrina Teggar

Sabrina Teggar, young Westerner born of a Swiss mother and an Algerian father, chose to lead a search for her roots through photography. The work derived from it blends childhood memories with a young woman's view, yesterday's Algeria with today's, religious Algeria and secular Algeria, an Algeria turned towards its past and an Algeria in awe of the West. But foremost it is the way she sees herself through tensions which are true to any community, to the confrontation of two cultures, to the apposition of memories and reality. read more

She had known Algeria as a child when visiting her grandparents in El Asnam, a city destroyed by earthquakes in 1950 and 1980, and later renamed Chelif. After this the country's political-religious situation prevented her from returning. It is only aged 30 that she decided to accompany her father  in his family, adding the pieces to her life puzzle. Sabrina's return to her father's country is also a trip to a childhood place from which she was for long kept away. When she finally goes back, she finds somewhere unfamiliar and foreign, slightly worrying but also warming,

scattered with clues of a story both difficult and necessary to make her own. How can she not look at herself in the mirror of those little girls, of those young people whose destinies have drifted so far apart from hers? But all or almost all the images, are pieces, extracts, shadows, from an uninterrupted film. The only stable and familiar points are those stood in front of her camera, the faces of those looking at her and recognizing her: Portraits taken on the go, or reproduced, of a family so close and far-away at the same time.

(Text: Christian Maccotta)