Melissa Arras

2019 - Ongoing


My Algerian heritage is somewhat of a mystery to me.

Growing up I was surrounded by Algerian culture in the home through language (Arabic and French), Islam, food, music, television, clothing… random puzzle pieces given to me as a first generation child to Algerian Muslim immigrant parents in London.

I am living in limbo between two cultures Western and Arab, not completely fitting into one or the other.

At times it was confusing and leading to questions surrounding identity and a sense of belonging.

Previous visits to Algeria were a mix of abstract childhood memories and a navigated experience shaped by family members, partly due to my young age and also a women’s place in society, where its predominately male dominated.

The urge to explore my inherited cultural identity though my own adult eyes lead me to photographically document my last two trips this year during March and September 2019. My aim is to explore my suppressed inherited cultural identity.

The camera is my vice to connecting to this place and using it as a form of communication with my family and the environment allowed me to later process/reflect.

Naturally I’ve been drawn to documenting the woman I spent time with. As I continue with this project this is something I’d like to delve deeper into.

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