July 22, 2020

Kader Attia to Close Paris's La Colonie, Independent Center Devoted to Decolonial Theory

PARIS, FRANCE—La Colonie, an independent cultural venue in Paris founded by artist Kader Attia with restauranteur Zico Selloum and their families in 2016, will close permanently. Located at 128 rue Lafayette, the cross-disciplinary space—whose name is styled with a strike-through—funded all of its upstairs programming with its ground-floor bar and café, which has remained shuttered since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, a blow to the enterprise from which it cannot recover.

“La Colonie is, among other things, a decolonial space for dialogue and exchange in real life, a space for social bonding, so our main goal now is to find another space to continue this mission, to continue to provide a space for all voices to be heard,” Kader told Artforum. Focused on amplifying the voices of marginalized artists and thinkers, the space convened artists, activists, and researchers in readings, lectures, and workshops around topics like cultural appropriation, art restitution, and institutional racism. The center opened in a former textile factory in 2016, the same year Attia won the Prix Marcel Duchamp, its launch date planned to coincide with the anniversary of the 1961 demonstrations in Paris for Algerian independence, a day on which hundreds of Algerians were killed by police.

France, whose Covid-19 death toll has ranked third-highest in Europe, initiated phase one reopening in mid-May, and the Parisian streets are now full of people enjoying outdoor dining and drinking. Although galleries and museums have also begun welcoming visitors again, the city’s art scene is still in a moment of transformation. As many of Paris’s smaller outfits shutter or move to the suburbs, blue-chip galleries like Lévy Gorvy, Pace, and David Zwirner have recently expanded or announced plans to expand into the capital.

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