My name is Ramzy Bensaadi and I am a 35 year old Algerian photographer. I live in Oran (Wahran) and started to document Algeria in early 2012 after returning home from working in an airline industry in the UAE. While working for the airline in the UAE, I had the opportunity to travel and see the world. After visiting each destination, I used to send pictures back home to my family—it was like sending them a small documentary of my travels. As I sent them the photos, I started to realize that photos of Algeria were generally absent. Ever since my return, I have spent all my spare time outside photographing the place that I call home.
Rural Celebrations in Algeria
In rural Western Algeria, many villages are called by the name of their founder or the man who was considered their leader at the time of its establishment. These types of leaders were today’s equivalent of mayors. They were well respected because of their faith, guidance, loyalty, justice and behaviour. After they passed away, they and their descendants of similar stature were buried in a cemetery near the village.
Every year in these villages, people come to celebrate a day in memory of the leaders and their distinguished family members who have passed away. Some people visit their mausoleums. However, it is not a religious day, in fact it is a kind of festive occasion where many entertaining activities take place such as a horse show called “Fantazia”, musical performances, plays, games for children and sweets sellers.
In this project, I have photographed many different aspects of rural festivals. The one seen here in my series portrays how close the living are to those who have left us. I have visited about 15 villages in three years. These festivals take place once a week for a period of three to four months.