Though celebrated in Algeria, France and the Middle East, Baya (as she chose to be known) has yet to gain greater international recognition. Perhaps her background or initial association with mid-century luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, Andre Breton and Jean DuBuffet discouraged broader or more dedicated consideration of her work.
A new exhibition redresses this oversight. Baya: Woman of Algiers – on view at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, January through March – is the first solo show of Baya’s art in North America. Comprising 22 gouache paintings from her 1947 Paris debut, it was curated by the French American scholar Natasha Boas, who recasts Baya’s legacy within critical, contemporary, feminist contexts.