Given how much traction her work has generated internationally it is surprising that Zineb Sedira has only had one solo exhibition in the region. Sands of Time, which took as its subject the economic, political and geographical movements around the sugar trade, was the final exhibition The Third Line held in their original space before they moved to Alserkal Avenue in the summer of 2015. Sedira’s major exhibition at Sharjah Art Foundation this spring is therefore a significant moment in the artist’s career. Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi and taking over three major spaces in Al Mureijah Square, it gives space to older works as well as showcasing three new commissions.
For nearly 20 years Sedira’s diligent practice in film and photography has explored oral histories, migration and traditions from a personal perspective. She was born in Paris to Algerian parents and maintains a home in both Algiers and Paris but is mainly based in London where she studied fine art in the late 1990s. This hybrid state plays into her approach to other key concerns such as National identities, language and gender.
Her photography work is usually created in series, such as Sugar Routes and Haunted House, where the same objects are captured from different angles. They respond well to being printed on a large scale. Many works, such as Image Keepers (2010) are based on conversations and interviews the artists has conducted with people in Algeria, in this instance the widow of a photographer who documented the revolution. The revolution is a constant topic of investigation, and how its events have a traumatic knock-on effect to the life of Algerians today. New areas of research seen here for the first time include trade routes in the Gulf and the history of airplane routes between London and Karachi via Sharjah.
The exhibition is from March 16 – June 16, 2018 at Sharjah Art Foundation.
Featured image: Zineb Sedira, Maritime Nonsense and Other Aquatic Tales, 2009, Triptych, C-prints mounted on aluminium, 100 x 120 cm each. Produced and commissioned by Iniva – Institute of International Visual Arts, Rivington Place, London. View of the installation, Iniva – Institute of International Visual Arts, Rivington Place, London, 2009 © Zineb Sedira © Photo George Torode. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris.
A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, Curriculum Vitae #44, page 28.