Yto Barrada was born in Paris in 1971 and educated in Tangier. She later studied history and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris, and photography at the International Centre of Photography, New York.
Barrada works with photography, film, sculpture, prints and installation, and has exhibited in a number of locations including Art Dubai; Tate Modern (London); the Fowler Museum (Los Angeles); MoMA (New York and San Francisco); The Renaissance Society (Chicago); Witte de With (Rotterdam); Haus der Kunst (Munich); Centre Pompidou and Jeu de Paume (Paris); Whitechapel Gallery (London); the Venice Biennale (2007 and 2011); the Sharjah Biennial; and the Performa 17 Biennial in New York. Her works are held in public collections globally, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York; and the Tate Modern in London.
Apart from being involved in numerous international solo and group exhibitions since 2001, Barrada has written a number of books and also made card games. Her book, A Life Full of Holes – The Strait Project, was published by Autograph ABP in 2005. In 2006, Barrada was awarded the first Ellen Auerbach Award in Berlin and was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. She went on to win Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year award in 2011, a Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography with the Peabody Museum in 2013, the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2015 and the Best Short Film Tiger Award for Faux Depart at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2016. Her 2018 solo multi-media commission for the Curve at the Barbican in London explored how a city reinvents itself after disaster.
Barrada co-founded the independent cinema, Cinémathèque de Tanger in 2006. Under its banner, in 2012 she was involved in a film screening and panel discussion at Iniva which explored the histories of countries such as Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco in the period leading up to the 2011 Arab Spring.
Yto Barrada lives and works in New York and Tangier.