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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Zineb Sedira

London,
United Kingdom

Zineb Sedira resides in London, England. She was born in the suburbs of Paris, where her Algerian parents immigrated to after the Algerian War of Independence against the French colonial occupation of their homeland. She moved to London in 1986 and studied art at Central St. Martins, and then pursued graduate studies at the Slade and the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe, the US and the Middle East. They include: the Venice Biennale (2001); Tate Britain, London (2002); the first ICP Triennial in NY (2003); PhotoEspana in Madrid (2004); Centre Pompidou & Hayward Gallery, Paris & London (2005); British Art Show 06, touring nationally in the UK (2006); solo exhibitions at the Photographers Gallery, London and the Galerie Esma, Algiers, amongst many others. Her work is in several major collections, including: Tate Britain; Museum of Modern Art; Paris, MUMOK (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig), Vienna, Austria; Wolverhampton Arts and Museums; the Pompidou Center; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Arts Council of England; the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; and the FNAC (Fond National d’Art Contemporain), Paris.

Sedira was a featured artist in Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum, curated by Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin.

Feminist Artist Statement

My work is informed by my identity as French, Algerian and British. As a mixed media artist I employ video, photography, text, digital technology and installation to investigate issues of representation, family, language, memory and landscape. The theme of representation forms the basis of my arts practice.

<p>Mother Tongue</p>

Mother Tongue

Zineb Sedira uses video and photography to depict women—young and old, often Arab—and their relationships with the world and each other. Sedira’s video work “Mother Tongue” looks at three generations of the artist’s family, each communicating in their own ‘mother tongue’, but unable to communicate directly through words. “Mother Tongue” features documentary-style interviews that the artist conducted with her mother and her daughter. The multilingual nature of the dialogues—in Arabic, French and English—connects past and present, revealing bonds that are subtle yet resilient. About the work Sedira states:

“Lack of communication is also a way of conveying meaning. My mother never learned French properly because she wanted to show her rejection of the French language and behavior after the war of independence, even though she and my father lived in France for economic reasons—North African immigrants were used as cheap labor. They experienced a lot of racism, and my parents felt a sense of failure that they had to bring up their children in that culture. They were angry that the French had managed to divide their Arab identity too, setting Algerians against each other by giving French citizenship to Algerian Christians and Jews but not Muslims, so that Arabs and Algerians would turn against each other.”

—Amy Brandt, Exhibition Assistant, Global Feminisms

Mother Tongue

Zineb Sedira uses video and photography to depict women—young and old, often Arab—and their relationships with the world and each other. Sedira’s video work “Mother Tongue” looks at three generations of the artist’s family, each communicating in their own ‘mother tongue’, but unable to communicate directly through words. “Mother Tongue” features documentary-style interviews that the artist conducted with her mother and her daughter. The multilingual nature of the dialogues—in Arabic, French and English—connects past and present, revealing bonds that are subtle yet resilient. About the work Sedira states:

“Lack of communication is also a way of conveying meaning. My mother never learned French properly because she wanted to show her rejection of the French language and behavior after the war of independence, even though she and my father lived in France for economic reasons—North African immigrants were used as cheap labor. They experienced a lot of racism, and my parents felt a sense of failure that they had to bring up their children in that culture. They were angry that the French had managed to divide their Arab identity too, setting Algerians against each other by giving French citizenship to Algerian Christians and Jews but not Muslims, so that Arabs and Algerians would turn against each other.”

—Amy Brandt, Exhibition Assistant, Global Feminisms

And the road goes on…

Commissioned by: Beaconsfield Gallery, London
Courtesy the artist and the galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

Don’t do to her what you did to me

Commissioned by: Africa in Venice
Courtesy the artist and the galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

Mother, Father and I

Commissioned by: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Courtesy the artist and the galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

Retelling Histories, my mother told me…

Courtesy the artist and the galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

Silent Sight

Funded by Artsadmin and the Westminster Arts Council, London
Courtesy the artist and the galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

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Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.