Amina Menia creates artworks that combine sculpture and installation, questioning the relation to architectural and historical spaces and challenging conventional notions around the exhibition space. Often in public spaces, her sculptural installations invite interaction from viewers through socio-spatial configurations. Grounded in the post-colonial history of her native Algiers, her work stands as an invitation to re-evaluate our understanding of heritage, and deconstruct conceptions of beauty.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014, Menia is presenting an audio installation in the former Brewery Tap Beer Garden on Tontine Street. The work will elaborate on the urban myth attached to this derelict gap in the fabric of the street, marked by a plaque describing how, in 1917, more than sixty people lost their lives at this site, killed by a single bomb. The site was at that time occupied by a Greengrocer called Stokes Bros. – whose shadowy shop sign reappears on one side wall of the site. The bench at the back of the site memorialises the time at which the bomb is thought to have fallen. While the material presence of the site refers to the past, the sound track of the audio installation suggests the future, creating a dialogue between the two. Menia recorded conversations with a dozen foreign incomers to Folkestone, recording the stories of how they arrived in the town as well as their recipes for bread that they brought with them.
Menia was born in 1976 in Algiers, Algeria, where she still lives and works. She studied at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Algiers and has been exhibiting her work internationally for some years. She has recently attracted support of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and she won considerable attention at last year’s 1:54 African Art Fair at Somerset House. Menia exhibitions include: Museum of Modern Art of Algiers (MAMA), Algeria; Carthage National Museum, Tunisia; and Castile-León Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC) in León, Spain. She also recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseilles, France, Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Ireland, and the Museum of African Design in Johannesburg, South Africa. She participated in the 11th Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates and will soon take part to the Dakar Biennial 2014.
This is not a wheelchair accessible artwork.