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I am proud to be a woman who presents herself in an artistic way to stimulate a reaction in a culturally inert society.

I am a street performance artist and film director in Algiers, Algeria. I enjoy my work as an artist, although I’m not paid to do it, and strive to resist against oppressive traditions, social standards, and the monopoly of art managers.

I believe men have a monopoly in the art industry because they see it as a business, unlike women who see it as their passion. This difference is a real threat to women’s art in Algeria – a consequential one – because while there are women in the art scene, the number is low.

Women’s representation in the arts is vital, especially visual art, performance, and cinema. They have to be able to excel and make a difference in the field to erase the dominance of masculine ideas.

My experience as a performance artist is a challenge. Through the presence of my body on the street, I say that I am here and I exist. You can appreciate me but don’t touch me because I am a mobile masterpiece. I look in the eyes of passers-by for their reactions and feel a mix of emotions. Observing their reactions is why I continue this work, and to keep in touch with the paradoxes of my society.

Challenging the culture is my real revolution and the meaning of my artistic life. In Algeria, we need society to progress and understand that life isn’t just about working, eating, and getting married. There are other things in life that give us a deeper meaning to our existence and complete it.

Performance art helps me observe this reality to better understand and propose solutions. It gives me a platform in the populist milieu, deprived of elite art museums and institutions. The start of my artistic journey was difficult, but I managed to gain the respect of people in my community through bold actions. I am the only artist of either sex who practices this kind of art on the street. I am proud to be a woman who presents herself in an artistic way to stimulate a reaction in a culturally inert society.

This artistic career motivated me to direct my first short documentary movie, "MKAWDA”. I used performance art to tell a story and be a witness of my community. I believe in the power of image and cinema to transcend continents and tell people’s stories.

It wasn’t easy for me to make my first professional movie. For this reason, I started with video art where I learned to create an image that hasn’t yet been consumed and to inject a beautiful idea into this world, with realistic vision.

Gaining the respect of the people around me is the key to progress in life. A woman should not be afraid of adventure and should have the courage to develop her person and compete for the first ranks. Not because she is woman, but because she is a mind and not body. She is not a man’s enemy, but when she thinks, many things change in the world thanks to her feminine sense. She is the most beautiful competitor who can exist.  

About the Author

Souad Douibi

Souad Douibi

Performance Artist & Film Director, Algeria
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