Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Sharjah Art Foundation presents a major survey exhibition of Zineb Sedira’s work, spanning three galleries in SAF’s Al Mureijah Square. For over 17 years, Sedira has explored notions of family, tradition, oral history, migration and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge, often through a personal lens. Although these concerns have recently become the focus of wider public attention, the artist has long underscored the enduring existence of these issues in her work.
In order to expand understanding of the artist’s practice and its development, the exhibition will feature a number of Sedira’s well-known works. Mother Tongue (2002) portrays the struggle to find a common language in which to share knowledge and experience across time and space. Saphir (2006) explores the notion of return, and the multichannel video Image Keepers (2010) revolves around Sedira’s conversations with the widow of a prominent photographer, who devoted himself to documenting the Algerian revolution. The exhibition also includes rarely seen videos, such as The End of the Road (2010), and recent sculpture and installation.
The exhibition will also include three new commissions: the installation Sunken Stories, focusing on the wooden dhows that have long facilitated trade to and from the Arabian Gulf, and the installation Air A airs, based on the artist’s retracing of the historic British Imperial Airways (BIA) route that connected London to Karachi via the Sharjah’s airport. Her third commission, Laughter in Hell, examines the dark humour that emerged during Algeria’s ‘black decade’ (1991–2001) of internal war and considers how joke telling becomes a way for trauma to be emotionally assimilated by a society.