Layering Over the Wounds of Algeria in Contemporary Pied-Noir Art
March 1, 2018 - Amy L. Hubbell
France’s former French citizens of Algeria, the Pieds-Noirs, include one of Europe’s largest diaspora communities in the twentieth century. This diverse group of people settled in Algeria during the colonial years, and after one-hundred and thirty years of French colonial rule, Algeria fought for and won its independence in 1962. The seven-year war was traumatic for both the Algerians and the French living in the colony, and nearly one million people crossed the Mediterranean during and after the war to make a new home in France.
Patrick Altes was born in 1957 in Algeria after the war had begun. Altes’ wounds are not physical, and because of his age at the time of independence, he does not have a sense of proprietorship of this country. Instead, his experience of Algeria has been largely through the scope of independence, and he feels no right to mourn his homeland.