Algeria's Art and Culture

Algeriaís culture, just like the culture of any other country, reflects many fascinating traits inherited by it from its recent historical past. It is primarily dominated by religion, which is actively breathed in by Algerian people. Actually, it is a blend of religion, music, language spoken, rich literature that forms the culture of Algeria.

Language: The language widely spoken in Algeria is Arabic, which can also be said as native or local language. About 82% of the population speaks Arabic and the rest speaks French and Berber dialects. Language has remained a very sensitive issue in Algeria. This is due to the colonization of French for 130 years, which has resulted in French being commonly used for University teaching and commercial purposes.

Religion: Religion is a very significant part of life in Algeria. Sunni Islam is the major religion in Algeria followed by Christianity as the secondary, with other minority religious groups taking the bottom position. From influencing the day-to-day customs to affecting social and cultural behavior to instilling the values that shape identity and give meaning to life, religion plays a remarkable role that cannot be neglected.

Going back into Algeriaís recent past, one can know about the disputes the socialist government had with the Islamic community. After being suppressed by the government in the period between 1960ís and 1970ís, Islam revived again in 1980ís, instigated by vigorous Muslim opposition. Therefore even today, Algeria can be seen under tension, adjusting itself to attain balance between modern secular beliefs and preserved Muslim traditions.

Art: Algeriaís art is a store of the richest and vivid artworks largely found in famous Art Galleries and bustling markets of Algeria. They contain intricately woven handicrafts, fascinating paintings, antiques and lively sculptures that reveal extraordinary aptitude of the Algerian artists. One can find awe-inspiring masterpieces in the National Gallery of Fine Arts and can get amused by the works of eminent artists such as Renoir and Mohammed Khadda, and local artists like Racism and Yelles.

Music: In the Algerian musicís most popular category comes Rai music, which is a renovated pop version of the folk music, generally associated with the names of Cheb Mami and Khaled, the most popular stars, who spread its fame across borders. For classical music lovers, Andalusi music is the show stealer, mainly in the places along the coastal areas. Moreover, Chaabi style music casts its spell on listeners almost everyday.

Literature: French influence can also be found in Algerian literature. In spite of there being a divide between the French and Arabic literature, Algeria has given birth to some of the most renowned writers. The works of the illustrious novelist, Albert Camus reflect his experiences during his stay in Algeria. There are numerous writers such as Henri Krea who shares his experiences of being with an Algerian mother and a French father. Other renowned writers include Mahammed Dib, Kateb Yacineand Rachid Mimouni. Among the thinkers, it is the illustrious Jacques Derrida, Frantz Fanon and Ibn Khaldun, whose names immediately come to mind.

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