La Colonie, a multidisciplinary art space, which was founded in 2016 by the Berlin and Algiers-based artist (who grew up in the French capital) and restauranteur Zico Selloum, together with their families, had been closed since March and the beginning of the lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To that point, the activities of the space, which included cross-disciplinary lectures, workshops and readings, broadly engaged with debates around decolonisation, had been significantly funded by a ground-floor bar and café.
“The colony is a sphere within which nobody can reclaim someone, or feel that they are included. We want to signal a re-appropriation and occupation of a sphere of freedom we have been removed from,” the artist told Spike magazine at the time of the space’s founding.
La Colonie was located near the Gare du Nord in an area that is home to multiple migrant communities. The centre’s final event was a discussion of Montréal-based writer and activist Robyn Maynard’s book Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present. Attia has stated that he intends to begin searching for a new smaller home for the project and to continue its work.
Attia has now launched an appeal to help fund the reopening of the space in a new venue. In an email statement he said ‘
La Colonie has always been an independent, unsubsidised space. In the aftermath of COVID-19, it has unfortunately been forced to close. Please help us find a place to, together, continue the debates, exhibitions, film screenings and book releases, in order to save the independence of your thought by sharing it with others.’