Skip to main content
Lux OnlineHomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch
Luxonline
Artists Artist's home pageArtists essay index page
Cherry SmythClick here to Print this Page
Zineb Sedira
Sedira's recent work no longer centres on the family and her role as observer is more removed, less narrativising, more spatially expansive.

The sense of movement through an exterior space continues the trajectory seen in On A Winter's Night A Traveller (2003) in which the location moves between two airports and the night sky viewed from a plane. As the memories of war and protest recounted in Mother, Father and I (2003) carry across to the experiences related by Zineb's mother in Retelling Histories (2003) so And the Road Goes On, seems to end at the port of Algiers and the sea in Saphir and Middle Sea.

Autobiographical threads are woven more subtly into the four later pieces. 'It seemed important to show an Algeria that's little known in the West, free of the "politics" and exoticism so often attached to it here in the UK.' (Zineb Sedira in conversation with Christine Van Assche, Photographers' Gallery, London and the Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris, 2006, p.60)

In some respects, Saphir re-enacts the story of Sedira's father leaving for France, his young wife forced to remain in Algeria. On a split screen, a male and female actor are positioned inside and outside a 1930s' French-built, art deco hotel called Es Safir, never acknowledging one another. The central characters, however, are the port with its faded grandeur and decrepit colonial architecture, and the sea itself. The sonic atmosphere of the harbour traffic signals the general restlessness: seagulls squawking, horns blaring, people talking, maritime machinery clanking, bikes revving.

The woman stands framed by the hotel window, unable to move on, as did Penelope, waiting for Ulysses. How many leave-takings and reunions happened here? The soulful positioning of the two characters - one takes the lift, the other the stairs, never to meet, points up the myriad sacrifices exile demands. They seem locked into a desire to leave and a fear of homesickness. The Tariq Ibn Ziyad ferry that travels between Algiers and Marseilles, moves into view, paralleling the hotel as a place of transitory dreams, held under a veneer of glamour that belongs indelibly to another era.

And the Road Goes On, video still, 2005
Go to top of                             page
HomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch