Timeless Algeria, Algeria of a thousand colours. A generous land inviting us to feast our eyes on all its wonders.
Across the ages, Algerian craft-work has immersed itself in a passionate adventure, an extraordinary and constant link between man and the natural elements, a daily challenge.
A daily challenge, a notion of popular art takes all its sense to become a crucible of multiple beauty, illustrating to best advantage the wealth of styles. When the secular transcends the useful to join the pleasurable, objects take on a higher purpose, hand in hand with works of art.
The Algerian artisan lovingly fashions and moulds, decorates and combines the rich influences of his environment in the manner of an expert alchemist. The work reflects the inspiration of the past which is now put at the service of the future.
To attempt to pain in works the richness and diversity of Algerian craftsmanship is to try to keep an almost impossible promise when one considers the depth and detail of the landscape as much geographic as stylistic.
The great variety of craftsmanship evident through Algerian has resulted from the diverse Algerian environment. Embroidered with a long thread of history and cultural influence, a seductive and cosmopolitan world of craftsmanship has been created.
In truth, Algerian had absorbed and exploited the many contributions inherited since time immemorial, whilst vigilantly protecting its true character. A challenge so well met. To the worthy eclecticism, the craftspeople have added a timeless and singular poetry, delicately written in quest of pleasure in tune with routine.
A craftsmanship so rich and promising that it fascinates the onlooker, excluding authenticity and capturing a poetry of forms inherent in the diversity of its culture.
Algerian culture is a culture influenced buy a myriad of civilisations and traditions since time immemorial.
The artisans’ work holds us spellbound in its mysterious Mediterranean magic, Islamic inspirations and Maghrebian majesty, generous and sharing in its nature, A tangible tenderness is diffused with every touch of the artisan, leaving the mark of his individuality upon his work in a kind of symbolic signature.
Context, environment and culture are all reflected in the diversity of styles peculiar to different regions. All are elements of the grand fresco that is Algeria. The journey into this enchanted world reveals a synthesis of the musical and secular inspiration.
The story behind these ancient crafts handed-down from generation to generation, is as fascinating as it is complex, because it is a story coloured with sensations impossible to describe. Words cannot describe what it is to touch and feel the sensations of a fine fabric, or the sweetness of fine clay worked with love and dedication.
From pottery and ceramics, through basket-ware to weaving, the art of the Algerian artisan has improved its universal appeal. A craftsmanship owed to the rich influences of its geographical proximity to Europe, Africa and the Orient, which have offered much to this nation which in turn offers us a bright and colourful adventure, which is no less than irresistible.
The incredible legacy of living of living crafts such as carpet making, Jewellery, sculpture, wool, ceramics, leather goods, brassware left by the ancient “Al Djezair” is the heritage of the future generations of craft people in Algeria, and will remain a rich source of inspiration for all to see.
The diversity of symbolism manifest in these crafts is a testimony to the ethnic origins of this nation. Enriched and embellished in its form and texture, with a delicate poetry of ornament and attention to detail which will give unceasing pleasure and historical insights, be it an arabesque delicately inscribed on an alabaser or the delicate silver engraving of the master copper worker. It is therefore with open interest that the invitation presses us to launch ourselves into the discovery of these veiled and mysterious offerings, presented without ostentation.
Caring and affectionate forms from noble materials produce exceptional objects, bred of skill and knowledge and weighted with timeless emotion. The one thousand and one products gathered together in this work are intended as a sort of vade-mecum that each and every person may consult in order to appreciate the countless wealth of which Algeria boasts. Right from the first glance, this book, as modest as it may be, will also become a complicit guide on a leisurely journey leading us from Algiers to the Tassili through the regions of Constantine and across the Kabylia.
The Aures will not be left to sleep, and our visit to prestigious Ghardaia will be closely followed by Oran in a profusion of works of countless charm. The whole of our journey will be seen through the extraordinary breadth of craftsmanship which had emerged from the night of time to light our way.
Prepare yourself for an enchanting journey into the world of Algerian crafts, which lives as a marvellous expression of secular passion reaching beyond the mystic, to rediscover a dimension greatly and profoundly human. So simply human!!
Reference: Some parts of the above text was inspired from "Algerian Handicrafts" By ANEP publishers
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