Project Description

Nafissa Boudalia


Nafissa Boudalia is from Algeria and now lives in London. She is both a poet and painter and occasionally returns to her country to paint at great risk to herself. She has worked as a journalist since 1969, originally working for Algerian newspapers ‘El Moudjahid’ and ‘Algerie Actualites’. In 1967, she won the Prix St Germain des Pres in Paris for her poetry. Her collection of poems ‘Reflexions sur l’Algerie (1989) focused on the political situation in Algeria, especially the position of women.

The Silence of the Living
(Translated from French)

The silence of the living
Is deafening
The dead are there
They question me again
The assassins are there
Now, Howl louder
They shout again
You are a spy…you are a spy

Bring hither
The pincers
Bring here
The syringe
It’s easy to confess
You are a spy…you are a spy

We found this feather
It’s all so clear now
The nib in the end
The spacing of the ink
The shapes of the faces
And the expression of the eyelids
You are a spy…you are a spy

We found this frame
It’s all in the canvas
You believe in the spirit
Where you dip your brushes
Ethereal in different sizes
Your blues are threatening
Your reds are too deep

You are a spy…you are a spy