Les Sentinelles, works from the CNAP collection

Institut du monde arabe Tourcoing Tourcoing


This video presents the exhibition ‘Les Sentinelles’. It was presented for the first time at the Institut du Monde Arabe – Tourcoing from 17 September 2022 to 12 February 2023. The body of works was carefully selected to allow for a travelling exhibition that can be further enriched.

Confronting turbulence with creative hubs

When attempted rebellions become engulfed by counter-revolutions or conflicts, the sentiment within the Arab world is one of living under siege. This is when artists emerge as sentinels; witnesses to the present in a disoriented world. They invent different temporalities regardless of socio-political turbulence. Documentaries
and fictions are theatres for a tragic awareness of time, considered from an appropriate distance.

Presenting a selection of works from the Arab world and its diaspora, Les Sentinelles invites the viewer to journey through the photographic and audiovisual collections of the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), represented by 21 artists. Five hubs of creation present works produced for the most part during the past decade and by emerging artists.

“Searching for a compass” crosses the region from north to south and from east to west, to the confines of forgotten or disputed territories. Hassen Ferhani and his installation, 143 rue du désert (2019), take us into the Algerian desert where we meet Malika, the owner of a very special café.
“Urban lives” brings us to the city and its interstices to construct newly habitable spaces. In Le Park (2015), Randa Maroufi films Casablanca youths whose hangout is an abandoned amusement park.
“Opposing History” suggests alternative versions of History and quests for national independence up to the 2011 uprisings. In Film 3 (2012), Ismaïl Bahri unfurls a strip of newspaper, raising the question of what is or isn’t newsworthy.
“Survivals” is an invitation to consider over half a century of trauma and resistance through the situation of the Palestinian, Algerian and Syrian people. Raed Bawayah returns to his Childhood Memories (2002-2003) in Palestine, with his tender portraits of children.
“Transit” enters zones that are both passageways and obstacles to migration in the Mediterranean. Se souvenir de la lumière (2015), an installation by Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, takes us deep into the sea off Beirut and other coastal cities.

Curators : Pascale Cassagnau, Camille Leprince et Françoise Cohen

Additional information

A simultaneous programme of screenings will take place in Tourcoing at Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains in partnership with Université de
Lille and in Roubaix at the Archives nationales du monde du travail. There will also be a discussion at Sciences-Po Lille.


Institut du monde arabe Tourcoing

9 Rue Gabriel Péri
59200 Tourcoing

Updated: April 18 2023