New exhibition: we talk to Zineb Sedira about 'Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense' in Sharjah

Artist Zineb Sedira opens a new solo show at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, 16 March – 16 June 2018. Artimage speaks to her about the exhibition, moving from video to installation, and her two latest commissions.

New exhibition: we talk to Zineb Sedira about 'Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense' in Sharjah

Making a journey

Zineb Sedira’s artworks frequently explore notions of migration, trade and travel; from her seminal film, Mother Tongue, to the artworks commissioned for her latest solo show Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense at Sharjah Art Foundation.

In one of her newly commissioned pieces, Air Affairs, Sedira traces a journey from Croydon, UK to India via Sharjah. Using the British Imperial Airways’ 1932 route from Croydon Airport to the Old Sharjah Airport, Sedira attempts to trace this journey in 2017, but due to war, geopolitics and declined visas, is unable to stick to the original route. Least of all because both airports now operate as air travel museums. A journey – and an artwork – the expedition is rooted in the light of social and colonial studies, as well, of course, aviation history.

Trading places

Another commission to feature in the exhibition, Sunken Stories, is similarly anchored in Sedira’s recurrent themes of trade, migration and mobility, but rather than in the air, her work looks to the sea. Exploring how traditional, wooden dhow boats have facilitated trade to and from the Arabian Gulf for generations, Sedira digs beneath the waves and creates resin objects that draw on local histories of shipwrecks.

Evolving mediums

The exhibition will display Sedira’s latest commissions alongside her well-known video artworks Mother Tongue (2002) and Saphir (2006), all of which are now available to license on Artimage. The range of different works on display shows the breadth and development of her work across different mediums. As she says herself: “The evolution of my work is representative of a desire to expand from video making and photography to object making and installation using archival materials/objects.”

The art project that spurred Sedira’s collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation, Laughter in Hell, will also be displayed at the Foundation’s three galleries in Al Mureijah Square. Funded by Sharjah Art Foundation in 2014 but unable to be displayed then, the work explores freedom of press and humour as a force against terrorism in the context of Algeria in the 1990s.
Wide Shot 1

Browse below for artworks featured in Zineb Sedira’s exhibition, Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense:

Sugar Routes II 2013
Sugar Routes II, 2013

Sugar Silo I 2014
Sugar Silo I, 2014

Saphir 2006
Saphir, 2006

Mother Tongue 2002

Mother Tongue, 2002 (View of the exhibition 'Les rêves n’ont pas de titre', musée d’art contemporain, Marseille)

Dont Do To Her What You Did To Me 1998 2001

Don't do to her what you did to me, 1998-2001

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Images from top: Air Affairs, 2017 © Zineb Sedira, 2018. Photo: Zineb Sedira; The exhibition Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense at Sharjah Art Foundation © Zineb Sedira 2018. Photo: Zineb Sedira; Sugar Routes II, 2013 © Zineb Sedira. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Image courtesy The Third Line, Dubai and Plutschow Gallery, Zürich. Photo: Zineb Sedira; Sugar Silo I, 2014 © Zineb Sedira. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Image courtesy The Third Line, Dubai and Plutschow Gallery, Zürich; Saphir, 2006 © Zineb Sedira. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Image courtesy kamel mennour, Paris; Mother Tongue, 2002 (View of the exhibition 'Les rêves n’ont pas de titre', musée d’art contemporain, Marseille) © Zineb Sedira. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Image courtesy kamel mennour, Paris. Photo: Zineb Sedira; Don't do to her what you did to me, 1998-2001 © Zineb Sedira. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Image courtesy kamel mennour, Paris.