Zineb Sedira, a Paris-born Algerian artist, will represent France at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale, which will take place from May to November 2021. She is the first individual of Algerian descent to be chosen for the commission. Best known for her photographs and video installations, which examine the experiences of Arab women, gender roles, displacement, and memory, Sedira has recently had exhibitions at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain (2019–20); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2019–20); and the Beirut Art Center, Lebanon (2018). She also has upcoming solo shows at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and at the Dallas Contemporary.
The founder of ARIA (artist residency in algiers), a residency program that supports the development of the contemporary art scene in Algeria through international cross-cultural exchange, Sedira is represented by Kamel Mennour (Paris and London) and by The Third Line (Dubai). According to her artist statement, Sedira’s practice was initially inspired by her research into her “own identity as a woman with a singular personal geography” and many of her early works are autobiographical including Mother Tongue, 2002, a video which portrays three generations of her family—her mother, her daughter and herself—as they try to communicate in English, Arabic, and French.
Sedira also uses her practice to address political and environmental issues such as in The Forgotten [Condemned] Journalists of Algeria’s Black Decade, 2018, which is a tribute to more than one-hundred journalists who have been assassinated or are missing in Algeria, and The Death of a Journey, 2008, photographs of the skeletons of old shipping vessels that were discarded without being dismantled and the ecological effects these wrecks have on marine life.
Sedira’s works can be found in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseille; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; the Mathaf – Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; and the Tate, London.