Biography – Patrick Altes (Algeria)
Patrick Altes was born in Algeria during the Algerian war of independence. This would later become a prominent aspect of his art, as he questioned and con- tinues to question the historical and political narrative of colonialism, and it's impact on the post-colonial era. Altes was brought up in France and has Spanish ancestry. As a visual artist, this diversity of cultures from which he was born and raised in was further enhanced by his travels, having lived in South Africa, Ecuador, France and currently England. In 2008 he gained his MA in Fine Arts from the University of Brighton.
He has twice received a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Award–to exceptional individuals and projects - a grant programme originally established in the 1920s by the founder of Lever Brothers. His work has been extensively exhibited- including shows at Triskel Art Centre in Cork, Ireland (with the support of the Anna Lindh Foundation, a Mediterranean cultural organization named after the late Swedish foreign minister), Contemporary Art Space in Chester, and at the Space Gallery at the University of Portsmouth as part of the first “Being Human” festival of the humanities.
He co-curated Algerianism 1, as part of the pan-Arabic Nour Festival in London’s Kensington and Chelsea (2015). Altes has also participated in the 3rd and 4th Biennales of Mediterranean Contemporary Arts in Oran, Algeria (2014 and 2017), Art Bahrain (2015), the 7th International Festival of Contemporary Arts (FIAC) at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Algiers (2015), and Art 16 London (2016).
The themes of displacement, alienation, diaspora and their impact on identity are central to his work, and he advocates for a world where compassion and empathy for others become the art of political discourse. His work explores our shifting and ambivalent attitudes towards belonging, dispossession and the self, offering an imaginary reclamation of a mythical geography of the mind, which is fantastical, evocative and surreal.
Africa is witnessing migration on an unprecedented scale. The plight of political, economical, or climate migrants, who risk their lives in search of refuge and sometimes have to pay the ultimate sacrifice, is humanly not acceptable. It is also a sign that we not only have to empathise with the causes, consequences and psychological impact of migration, but also find political solutions to them.
In a world that has become polarized and antagonistic, pitting cultures, religions, political systems and people against each other, his work is an exhortation to overcome our differences and seek a more harmonious way of coexisting. Beyond that, he also emphasises the deep links and multi-layered relationship between the African continent and Europe, and warns against euro-centrism in our perceptions and attitudes.
Patrick lives and works in the UK.