TOPIC : Banknotes

M'Hamed Issiakhem

Catalogue Raisonné

Works we all owned one day

If there is any certainty, it is that we all had at least one work from  M’Hamed Issiakhem. They were even carelessly crumpled in our wallets without much regard for them. Yes, it is about bank notes.

Postcolonial Algeria issued its first banknotes in 1964, leaving the «Franc» zone. This little piece of paper inevitably became the banner of the national project, an allegory of the benefits and colors of the country or its regions. It was also a question of replacing colonial iconography with a national narrative that we could all have with us.

Although this was a constrained exercise in the service of his client, and of his policy, it nevertheless left the artist a fairly free field of expression around the subject he was to serve. M’Hamed Issiakhem will not fail to exercise his artistical imaginary and to deploy a technical virtuosity of draughtsman, miniaturist and illuminator (see Biography) and will testify Mohamed Louaïl, classmate at the School of Fine Arts of Algiers

Bersier, our engraving teacher, recommended that we do it in several stages: make the sketch from nature on a sheet, correct it, trace it on the metal plate and engrave it. But Issiakhem, scratching the drawing quickly and directly on the varnished plate, made use of his imagination and know-how. Bersier and we all admired his great capacity for application and spontaneity»

The realization of a banknote is a work in its own right, and to appreciate its extreme complexity let’s start from its genesis; the drawing.

The next one will unfortunately never become a banknote and will remain on this inert layer. The finesse of this performance by thousands of interlaced strokes with the pen, made emerge a well-known scene of the French landing in Algeria in 1830. The face of Emir Abdelkader seems to be marked by a lucid sadness that glimpses the future…

When it takes shape as close as possible to its final representation, it is only more delicate and sophisticated. 

M’Hamed Issiakhem will put his talent at the service of his country, starting in 1970 with a series of banknotes including 5AD, 10AD, 100AD and 500 AD.

He offered the first ticket to Ammour Abderrahmane, then Director of the Mint, who had solicited in vain the best known artists of this period. He will explain that the theme of all the banknote series was a region of Algeria. M’Hamed Issiakhem will give each one a dominant color

This first 5AD post will be made in 1970 and will be called «the Fennec» in reference to the presence of this Algerian desert fox next to the city of Gherdaïa. The set is illuminated by a blue and gold illumination by Mohamed Temmam.

On the back, the great south with in the foreground a Touareg in traditional dress. 

Before being a banknotes,it was about two works.

Then it will be the turn of the Del-Ourit waterfall in Tlemcen in the western Algerian who rubs a Koubba

The mention of agriculture and the natural beauty of the country does not exclude the national project of investment in petrochemical industries.

The small History succeeds the big one with the 500 AD ticket. It traces a broader spectrum of our history, with on the back a reminder of the past numide, romain, byzantine… by the representation of omnipresent mosaics. And finally Muslim at the bottom right.

As for the front, the references to the Ottoman occupation are obvious. With a freedom of traits that distances this realization from the formal codes observed so far on the previous banknotes.

In 1978 the 50 AD banknote represents an independent Algeria in progress. References to the agrarian and industrial revolution are interwoven with an unambiguous emphasis on Algeria’s pastoral and agricultural vocation.

It is also interesting to come back to the initial drawing

M’Hamed Issiakhem will make two 100DA banknotes, the first in 1970 and the second in 1981. The first will represent the landscapes of the Saharan Atlas and Kabylia. Crafts and agriculture are in the foreground, and references to technological progress and national industrial ambition in the background with the airport, symbol of modernity and openness to trade.

It is in the blues that will be realized the note of 100DA in 1981

Finally, the last banknotes made by M’Hamed Issiakhem will be issued in 1983; those of 20DA and 200 AD.

On this first is found on the front with the artisanal traditions of kabyle jewelry on the right, pottery and tapestry on the left. These two elements are separated by a neo-moorish door.

The reverse represents in the centre the Kalaâ of Beni-Hammad in M’Sila.

Coming back to the origin of the process, it appear as iterative. 

Contact :


1949      Exposition, Galerie Carrot (Alger).

1951      Exposition, Galerie André Maurice (Paris).

1955      « Festival Mondial de la Jeunesse et des Etudiants » (Varsovie).

1955      « Salon des Peintres Nord-Africains » (Paris).

1959      Exposition, Galerie Donilstraz (Leipzig).allemagne

1960 – (fév.)       Exposition collective, Club des Quatre vents (Paris).

1963 – (1/11)      Exposition « Peintres Algériens », Salle Ibn-Khaldoun (Alger).

1964 – (15-30/4)               Exposition « Peintres Algériens », Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris).

1964 – (Juin)       « ler Salon UNAP », Galerie UNAP (Alger).

1965 – (nov.)      Exposition « Jeune Peinture Algérienne », Salle Ibn-Khaldoun (Alger).

1967      Exposition collective (Alger).

1967 – (21-26/11)            Exposition collective, Galerie Municipale des Arts (Tunis).

1967 – (17/4)      « Création du Groupe de la Jeune Peinture Algérienne », Galerie Feraoun (Alger).

1969 – (19-30/4)               « 1ère Rétrospective », Studios de l’ONCIC (Alger).

1969      Exposition collective (Sofia).

1969 – (juillet.)   « Festival Panafricain » (Alger).

1969 – (nov.)      Exposition collective, MNBA (Alger).

1974 – (nov.)      Exposition collective, MNBA (Alger).

1974 – (1-15/5)  Exposition, Maison du Peuple (Alger).

1974 – (nov.)      Exposition « L’Art et la Révolution (Alger).

1974 – (1/11)      « 2ème Salon de l’UNAP », Galerie UNAP (Alger).

1976 – (30/4-15/5)           Exposition collective, Salle El Mouggar (Alger).

1979 – (27/10-5/11)        Exposition collective, Maison du Peuple (Alger).

1982 – (28/4-7/5)             Exposition, Hôtel Aurassi (Alger).

1983      « Exposition Internationale » (Sofia).

1983 – (janv.)      Exposition « Dix ans de Peinture Algérienne », MNBA (Alger).

1983 – (mars)     Exposition collective, Galerie Yak (Tunis).

1983 – (15-30/9)               Exposition collective, Foire Internationale (Alger)

1983 – (10-22/1 1)           Exposition « Novembre », CCWA (Alger).

1984 – (Fév)        « Exposition d’Art Moderne », CCWA (Alger).

1984 – (28/3-l 1/4)          Exposition collective, Cent Culturel Italien (Alger).

1984 – (4/9-30/1l)            « L’Art et la Révolution Algérienne MNBA (Alger).

1984 – (20/9)      « 2ème Salon de la Peinture Méditerranéenne », Galerie El Kettani (Alger).

1984 – (29/10-29/11)      Exposition, Galerie Xen (Alger).

1985 – (1-10/7)  Exposition, Musée Sidi Bou Saïd (Tunisie).

1986 – (30/6-6/7)             « Exposition Hommage » (Bédjaïa).

1986 – (1-28/2)  « Peinture Algérienne Contemporaine Palais de la Culture (Alger).

1986 – (25/2-13/3)           Exposition « Algérie, Peinture des années 80 », CNAP (Paris).

1986 – (3/5-4/6)               « Rétrospective commémorative MNBA (Alger).

1986 – (4/5-3/6)               « Exposition Issiakhem », Galerie Issiakhem (Alger).

1986 – (11-26/6)               « Exposition Hommage », Musée Zabana (Oran).

1986 – (20/9-10/10)        « Exposition Hommage », CCWA (AIger).

1987 – (5/7-5/8)               Exposition Collective, Galerie Issiakhem (Alger).

1987 -(24/12-4/1/88)     Exposition « Expressions multiples », MAAO (Paris).

1988 – (1-15/6)  « Exposition Hommage à Issiakhem’ Galerie El Mouggar (Alger).

1989 – (8-20/4)  « Hommage à Issiakhem », Galerie El Mouggar (Alger).

1989 – (17/6)      « Hommage à Issiakhem » (Azzefoun).

1989 – (oct.)       « Journées Culturelles Algériennes (Moscou).

1989 – (nov.)      « Peinture algérienne Contemporaine » MNBA (Alger).

1990 – (10-21/1) »Exposition Hommage à Kateb Yacine et M’Hamed lssiakhem », Galerie du Lucernaire (Paris).

1990 – (déc.)       « Hommage à M’Hamed Issiakhem », Maison de la Culture (Tizi-Ouzou).

1991 – (nov.)      « Hommage à Issiakhem », Maison de la Culture (Constantine).

1994 – (3-27/2)  Exposition « Les traces de l’épreuve », CCA (Paris).

1994 – (18/5)      Exposition « Les Peintres saluent Kateb Yacine », CCA (Paris).

1994 – (28/10-28/11)      « Panorama de la Peinture Algérienne », Palais de la Culture, Galeries Racim-lsma-Fanon (Alger).

1995 – (Avril)      « La poésie dans un jardin », Centre Européen de poésie (Avignon).

1996 – (23-30/4) Exposition « Dix ans de Peinture algérienne », Galerie Isma (Alger).

2005 Hommage  à Issiakhem 1985 2005 MNBA  Alger

2006 Hommage à Issiakhem et Zemirli maison de la culture de Tizi ouzou

2007 Hommage à Issiakhem  ville de Relizane

2007 Les doyens de la peinture algerienne UNAC

2007 Hommage à Issiakhem ville de cherchel  UNAC


1ere grande expo d’art contemporain dans le village natal