Houria Niati

Houria Niati (born 1948) is an Algerian contemporary artist living in London.[1][2] Niati specializes in mixed media installations that criticize Western representations and objectification of north African and Middle Eastern women.[3] Her installations notably have live performances most commonly traditional Algerian music such as Raï, as a key visual representation of Niati's homeland and culture.[1] Salah M. Hassan further details her performances, "She uses synthesizers, sound recordings, and special light effects to create a theatrical atmosphere and a vibrant magical environment of sound, body movement, and color."[4] The installations and exhibitions join together paintings, sculptures, drawings, photos, soundtracks, and performances.[1]

Houria Niati
Born1948 (age 73–74)
Known forInstallation art

Early life and careerEdit

Niati grew up in French-occupied Algeria, where over one million Algerians were killed for resisting occupation.[1] When Niati was twelve years old, she demonstrated against French colonialism with her anti-colonial graffiti, which landed her in jail.[1] Niati's experiences with the French occupation and eventual revolution of her people greatly influenced her art later in life.[1]

Niati moved to London in the late 1970s, where she observed Western art that depicted Algerian people, especially women, in a fictionalized and exotic way.[1] This influenced her own depictions of post-colonial cultures, nations, and people.[1] She attended Camden Arts Centre and Croydon College of Art,[5] and later went on to get an MA in Fine Arts at Middlesex University.[6]

Selected exhibitionsEdit

  • 1983: Five Black Women, Africa Centre, London
  • 1984: Into the Open: New Painting, Prints and Sculpture by Contemporary Black Artists, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield[7]
  • 1986: From Two Worlds, Whitechapel Gallery, London[7]
  • 1988: An Exhibition of Pastels & Paintings by Houria Niati, Africa Centre, London[7]
  • 1990: No to the Torture, first displayed at the Cartwright Hall Museum in Bradford, England in 1990[1][2]
  • 1991: Four x 4, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston[7]
  • 1991: Bringing Water from the Fountain, first displayed at the Harris Museum in Preston, England, 1991[1][2]
  • 2013: Houria Niati: Identity Search, Conway Hall, London, UK[8]


Niati, Houria (1999). "Diverse Bodies of Experiences". In Lloyd, Fran (ed). Contemporary Arab Women's Art: Dialogues of the Present. WAL Women's Art Library. ISBN 9781902770000.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fairchild Ruggles, D. (2006). Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies. Albany: SUNY Press. p. 243. ISBN 0791493075. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Hassan, Salah M (1997). Gendered Visions: The Art of Contemporary Africana Women Artists. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, Inc. p. 9.
  3. ^ De Weever, Jacqueline (Spring 2004). "Review: Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies by D. FAIRCHILD RUGGLES". Arthuriana. 14 (1): 114–116. doi:10.1353/art.2004.0029. JSTOR 27870591. S2CID 201754269.
  4. ^ Hassan, Salah M. (1997). Gendered Visions. Africa World Press, Inc. p. 103. ISBN 0-86543-619-3.
  5. ^ Hassan, Salah M. (26 January 2013). "The Installations of Houria Niati". Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. 3 (1): 50–55. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Houria Niati - MA Fine Arts". hourianiati.com. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Keen, Melanie (1996). Recordings : a select bibliography of contemporary African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian British art. Elizabeth Ward, Chelsea College of Art and Design, Institute of International Visual Arts. London: Institute of International Visual Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design. ISBN 1-899846-06-9. OCLC 36076932.
  8. ^ Highet, Juliet (16 September 2013). "Houria Niati: Identity Search". Asharq Al Awsat. Retrieved 7 March 2015.