The Algerian culture ministry said on its Facebook page that, due to financial and preparatory problems, the country will no longer take part in the 2019 Venice Biennale, which is set to open in May. Algeria has deferred its participation in the event to 2021, the Art Newspaper reports.
The statement posted to Facebook reads, in part, “In the context of the annual financial support of the Ministry of Culture . . . the commission charged with examining the financing of cultural and cinematographic events has decided to defer . . . Algeria’s participation in the 58th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice . . . due to the closeness of the date of this cultural meeting and preparation imperatives.”
Hellal Zoubir, the curator of what would have been Algeria’s first-ever pavilion at the biennial, said that he was not consulted regarding the cancelation. “The artists in the exhibition don’t agree with the ministry’s action,” he told the Art Newspaper. “[Finding] other means on the financial front are envisaged by our friends that don’t wish to see this withdrawal. We hope that those in charge at the culture ministry will give their agreement for private financing.”
Zoubir’s exhibition, titled “Time to Shine Bright,” was to include artists Amina Zoubir (the curator’s daughter), Rachida Azdaou, Hamza Bounoua, Mourad Krinah, and Oussama Tabti.