'Waiting for Omar Gatlato: A Survey of Algerian Contemporary Art' Opens at Wallach Art Gallery this Month

Audrey Deng
October 30, 2019

The opening reception for the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery’s latest show took place on October 25 from 6-8 pm. The show, titled Waiting for Omar Gatlato: Contemporary Art from Algeria and its Diaspora, borrows its title from a 1979 publication on early Algerian film, edited by Wassyla Tamzali, which references Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot and Merzak Allouache’s 1976 cult classic film Omar Gatlato.

Omar Gatlato is a drama/comedy set in Algeria, featuring a young man named Omar who falls in love with a voice on a tape, and meets the person behind that voice—and she is not what he had imagined. Waiting for Godot tells the story of two men who wait and wait by a tree for a man who never arrives.

According to the website, the title of the gallery “combines two important conceptual clues for how contemporary Algerian visual artists and filmmakers approach and engage art as the decolonization process evolves. Both source works are portraits of anti-heroes trying to make sense of their day-to-day lives.” The collection offers diverse representations of everyday life in Algeria and its diaspora through film, paintings, photography and sculpture by twenty-five contemporary artists.

Participating in the show are the artists Louisa BabariFayçal BaghricheBardiMouna BennamaniAdel BentounsiZoulikha BouabdellahHalida BoughrietFatima ChafaaEL MeyaHakima El DjoudiKarim GhelloussiMounir GouriMourad KrinahNawel LouerradAmina MeniaSonia Merabet, Yazid OulabLydia OurahmaneSadek RahimDania Reymond, Sara SadikFethi SahraouiMassinissa SelmaniFella Tamzali TahariDjamel Tatah, and Sofiane Zouggar.

The Wallach Art Gallery is Columbia’s premier art space. Here, forums and laboratories meet at an interface; this gallery offers opportunities for curatorial practice and discourse, while bridging the diverse approaches to the arts at the University, welcoming the broader public.

The exhibition runs October 26, 2019 - March 15, 2020.