“Houria Niati’s work reflects the legacy of colonialism and her multi-cultural background – French, Arab-Berber, British. Female images of the sea and the moon meld strands from ancient Algerian myths and legends with French surrealism. Using oil and pastels, she creates an explosion of shifting colour, with a sense of optimism that belies her experience of the darker, bleaker years of war.
Her palette is sharp, hot oranges and reds throb beneath her relentless blues of desert skies. At times, the paint is thin, dragged and scratched, at others thick, sweeping and gestual. Yet in spite of defiance of colour, mask-like faces – some passive and inert, other pained – break through the bravura like recurring memories of a trouble past.”