The Hidden Things
I always wanted to be my father’s daughter, the heiress of his history.
I wanted my place in the Elbaz line, the descendants of Rahmin Elbaz,
to be recognised. Born in 1856 at Khenchela and nicknamed “Baba Aziz”,
Rahmin Elbaz became a French citizen when he was fourteen and married
Rachel Gallico, born in 1861, the daughter of a rabbi in Strasbourg.
Both died at Khenchela, Rachel in 1943 and Rahmin Elbaz a year later.
The personalities of the women in my family, particularly my paternal
grandmother, Suzanne Zaira Kalifa (1907-1993), left a deep mark
on me as a child. Her love for her sons governed her life. In the photograph
taken in Constantine in 1926, she is posing with her mother, Khemissa
Allouch, born in Constantine around 1860.
I grew up without any knowledge of my paternal family history.
To make up for this loss, I tried to identify with this story through an
idealisation of my Arab identity, of the land of my origins, of its men
and women, and in doing so I neglected my French culture.
For a long time, my life was determined by this loss. I went in search
for it everywhere except in myself. I was seeking a home, a family
“elsewhere”. A nomad, I lost myself in multiple identities far from my origins:
the daughter of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, a child of mixed
parentage to whom no history belonged entirely.
- Installation The Hidden Things, 6 light boxes LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- The Hidden Things, Identity 1 light box 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°1 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°2 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°3 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°4 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°5 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Installation The Hidden Things, n°6 LED 1M X 1M, 2012
- Family archives 13,5 x 10 cm - Suzanne Zaira Kalifa my grand-mother (left)