Non Raconte Arts Festival from Algeria to the World

Hacène METREF with village woman in Fenetre du Vent, Photo Credit Denis Martinez
This year’s Festival of Raconte Arts, a popular festival, which occurs annually in the mountainous region of Algeria called Kabylie, was canceled due to the corona virus epidemic.

Having been an invited artist for the last few years, there is a sense of nostalgia and solidarity that creeps up at this time, a memory that surges unexpected, but welcome. With so many events switching to the collective consciousness of the web, I was hopeful that the founders might be inspired to create some sort of online manifestation. I hesitated to say much and I waited, keeping faith that there would be someone who would feel the necessity to keep this festival going even in these dark times. I did not wait in vain, with the sense of solidarity and creativity prevailing, my hopes have been answered and although Raconte Arts will not happen, a new format, the Non Raconte Arts will take place on the Festival Raconte-Arts Facebook page from August 4-10 of August.


Fenetre du Vent, Photo Credit Denis Martinez


Every year, the festival has been governed by a theme, connected to wind, women and their struggles, etc., the Non Raconte Arts preserves this format with this year’s theme, Fenetre du Web inspired by an interactive art project by one of the founders, Denis Martinez, entitled Fenetre du Vent. Fenetre du Vent became a means of communication from 2002-4 in both Algeria and France. Historically, men from Algeria would immigrate to France while leaving their wives and children behind and after a very long time waiting for news, the Kabyle women in the mountains searched for a way to communicate with their husbands. They would find a secret place with a window, perhaps a mosque or other place that was on a hillside, where they would use the wind to carry their words to their husbands in France and wait to hear a response. Since 1994, Martinez was in exile in France and created this interactive work which connected with the ancient traditions of the Kabyle women. He brought a picture frame to many places from 2002-4 to give others the chance to connect to loved ones far away and in the end, in 2004, the work was at the first Raconte Arts Festival in At Yani village in Kabylie, Algeria. This work was transformed into the digital sphere and is revived for the Non Raconte Arts platform which will happen this week on the Festival Raconte-Arts Facebook page. The original founders included Hacène METREF, Denis Martinez, and Salah Silem. This year’s online festival is piloted by Rafik Hadouchi and Sadia Tabti.