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.

Audio guide



  1. Posted by Nadira Laggoune on March 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    It’s very interesting !
    Amina Menia is one of the emerging artists among the most promising local Algerian scene.
    His interest in the subject of architecture in Algeria is very current as it moves in the tricky field and problematic relationship between history and memory and the role it can play in the archive.
    His work from archive is a way to activate the dialectic between the present and the past that fear is one of the determinants of the history of Algeria, its past, present and future ….
    Good work, Amina and good luck!

  2. Posted by Jeremy Miles on August 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I am delighted and intrigued that Amina Menia is planning to present an installation on the site of the First World War bombing in Tontine Street. I am delighted because it explores an important part of my family history and intrigued for reasons I will mention later.
    The ‘derelict gap’ she speaks of was the site of my great grandfather William Henry Stokes’ shop, Stokes Brothers greengrocers, which on 25th May 1917, took a direct hit from a 50 kilogram bomb dropped by one of the newly designed German Gotha bombers. William Henry and his youngest son Arthur Ernest were among the 60 who died that day. His brother Frederick Charles was terribly injured and died from his wounds a year later. I feel curiously proud to have direct connections to this awful and devastating historic event – the first ever enemy air-raid on Folkestone – which for so long has been almost forgotten.
    Amina states that the work “will elaborate on the urban myths” still carried by the gap in the buildings. What myths I wonder? I’ve never heard of any. Does she realise that Stokes Brothers was rebuilt after the bombing and, though it was eventually sold by my family, continued trading for the next half century or more? It was finally destroyed by a fire in 1986. I love the Triennial and wish Amina well with her installation which I’m sure will provoke some interesting thoughts. I am hoping she will reveal some facts that somehow weave my family forever into the folklore of Folkestone.

    • Posted by David Drury on March 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      You may be interested to know that amongst the injured at Stokes Brothers was my aunt, Beatrice Drury. She was an employee of your grandfather and was at work in his shop on 25th May 1917. She was badly wounded and taken to Shorncliffe Military Hospital (I believe) where she was found a day or two later by my father, then aged 16. I have not been able to discover how long she took to recover but I was told that she carried pieces of shrapnel in her body to her dying day in the 1970s.

  3. Posted by Margaret Care on August 30, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Like Jeremy Miles, I too am bemused by the mention of “urban myths carried by the gap” Just to confirm, the shop was rebuilt by local builder Otto Marx, and re-opened for business, together with another shop also badly damaged, on 23rd June that same year – just one month after the attack. The Stokes family continued to trade in that shop through a further two generations, closing their doors finally in 1982. They continued to own the shop, and rented it out to another greengrocer, until the fire that totally destroyed it in 1985.

    Margaret Care (great grand-daughter of Frederick Charles Stokes)

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