Interview with Patrick Altes

In this post, Fabienne Chamelot, a PhD student in the Francophone Africa cluster, interviews Patrick Altes. Patrick, a French artist born in Algeria, was a Leverhulme artist-in-residence in the School of Languages and Area Studies in 2012/13. An exhibition of his work, entitled ‘A Story of Revolutions’, was displayed at the University of Portsmouth’s SPACE gallery between 20 October and 26 November 2014, as part of the Being Human Festival. How would you say your experience as an artist-in-residence in an academic context influenced your work, both in terms of techniques and the creative process? Working with the University of Portsmouth, I had access to a lot of brainpower from experts in the field I was interested in. This was probably one of the key aspects, if not the most important one, during this residency. At the outset, some might have shown a few concerns about what a “pied noir artist” would produce, notably that I would bring up nostalgia in my work or highlight the “positive legacy” of French Algeria. However, these concerns were very quickly eliminated as I showed my interest in other ideas and worked from a very original perspective. Working with the University was very useful in […]

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Remembering Rwanda

In this post, Rob Coates, a former student on the MA Francophone Africa programme, recalls his recent trip to Rwanda, where he spent three months working at the Commission Nationale de Lutte Contre le Génocide (CNLG) in Kigali. Rob recently submitted his MA Francophone Africa dissertation on commemoration, textbooks and music as means of post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda.  My first impressions of Rwanda are a bit blurred. My flight out had been disrupted by, of all things, a leaking toilet and so, when finally I touched down in Kigali, I was only capable of forming simple greeting sentences, and watching the whirl of colour fly past the car window. Luckily, by the time I met Damas, the guy I would be working with at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), I had been able to sleep and came across much better for it. For the remaining three months in Kigali, I would develop enough memories to compensate for the addlement and confusion of the first few days. Gorillas Damas runs, almost singlehandedly, the Research and Documentation Centre at CNLG, responsible for carrying out local research projects and ensuring that Rwanda safeguards written and recorded proofs relating to the genocide against […]

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