Voice-Over: Zineb Sedira at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art centers the revolutionary power of culture while amplifying the complexities of history, identity, memory, and resistance.
Voice-Over: Zineb Sedira
May 8, 2021–January 30, 2022
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale
Centering the revolutionary power of culture, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first U.S. solo exhibition for Zineb Sedira, whose layered storytelling crashes through conceptual boundaries between the personal and the political to amplify the complexities of history, identity, memory, and resistance. The London-based artist was born in Paris to Algerian immigrant parents in 1963. In 2022, she’ll become the first artist of African descent to represent France at the Venice Biennale.
Guest curator Dr. Natasha Boas anchors the exhibition with a new iteration of Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go (2021), a 2019 installation inspired by the 1969 Pan-African Cultural Festival of Algiers, where resistance to colonialism took the form of euphoric creative expression. The installation features four scenes, including a life-sized diorama of the artist’s living room (Way of Life) filled with books, vinyl records, and other objects rooted in ’60s counter-culture. Desert-related objects prompt consideration of Indigenous peoples, migration, and transnational identity in the Sahara and Sonoran deserts.
Both artist and activist, Sedira challenges viewers to reimagine the living room as a hub for revolutionary ideation and activity rather than an isolated escape from social injustice magnified by the pandemic, police brutality, and authoritarianism. Nearby, viewers see Sedira’s video mise-en-scène (2019) made using found decaying film footage, which signals her facility for shifting narratives. Two short rows of seats allude to the fact that the museum site was formerly home to a cinema complex. Throughout, the artist suggests museums as sites of both oppression and liberation.
Additional works provide insight into Sedira’s practice, which spans more than twenty-five years. A video triptych (Mother Tongue, 2002) highlights her embrace of storytelling as a way to connect cultures and generations. A dystopian two-screen projection with sound (The End of the Road, 2010) punctuates her subversion of documentary conventions.
By illuminating Sedira’s ongoing journey with culture as resistance, the exhibition calls on others to co-create revolutionary pathways.