This exhibition will celebrate 36 years of art practice of Houria Niati who arrived in London in 1977. From oil painting to oil pastels to digital art, the spectrum of her work is vividly expressed through all those years of intensive dedication. Houria’s most powerful installation No To Torture (based on Delacroix’s famous painting The Women of Algiers) launched her career in the 80s in London. The central panel will be shown to mark the beginning of Houria’s journey.
Several of her installations (Bringing Water from the Fountain has Nothing Romantic About it) in which she explores Orientalist images and colonial postcards have built her reputation internationally. Most of Houria’s work is intimately self-referential, documenting her own multicultural history. Family photos and snippets of the past are hidden behind a veil of whimsical calligraphy written in English, French and Arabic and selected from the artist’s own poetry, questioning the process of integration and what it means to live with several languages/cultures simultaneously.
Her work is idiosyncratic, based on multi-facet identity and issues resulting from dichotomy, displacement/multicultural environments and experience of war. The artist continues to develop work in forms such as painting, drawing, poetry and singing performance, since 2002 when she purchased her first computer her artistic practice has expanded to include digital media (video installation, digitally manipulated photos) where the artist continues to explore notions of identity and displacement. Her recent paintings have a strong connection with the French movement of Fauvism (vivid colours and spontaneous marks on canvas).
Houria was born in French Algeria where she lived through the war for independence (1954-1962). She was only 6 when she heard the first bomb that launched the war that lasted 7 years. Her passion for art started when she was very little, following the foot steps of her father who was a self-taught landscape painter, inspired by French art. She trained in Community Arts in Algiers. She came to London in 1977 and studied Fine Art at the Croydon College of Art and an MA in Fine Art at Middlesex University. Houria has exhibited widely since 1983, visiting the US, Europe and Middle East. In 2015 she contributed to the Venice Biennale invited by Global Art Affairs showing at the Palazzo Mora (Crossing Borders).
Houria Niati lives in Ealing, West London. She is an active member of the Ealing Beat Art Festival Committee.