Zineb Sedira was born in Paris to Algerian parents. She studied a BA in Critical Fine Art Practice at Central Saint Martins, graduating in 1995, followed by an MA Fine Art in Media from the Slade School of Art in 1997. She continued with Research Studies in the Photography Department at the Royal College of Art in London until 2003.
Sedira has worked with installation, photography, film, video and object-making to explore gender and identity. Her work is concerned with environmental and geographical issues; her approach aims to transmit past memories in order to leave a legacy for the future. Using portraits, landscapes, language and archival research Sedira develops a polyphonic vocabulary spanning fiction, documentary, poetry and lyricism.
Sedira’s work is held in numerous collections worldwide and she has participated in several solo and group exhibitions globally. Her video, Mother Tongue (2002), was acquired by the Tate in 2007, and explores issues of transmission of language and identity in a globalised world using three generations of women in her family as subjects. Her work has been shown in biennials and triennials, including the Venice Biennale (2001 and 2011), the triennial for photography and video at the Institute of Contemporary Photography in New York (2003), the Sharjah Biennale (2003 and 2007) and the Folkestone Triennial (2011). Sedira is founder of aria (artist residency in algiers), a residency program to support the development of the contemporary art scene in Algeria through international cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations.
Some of Sedira’s solo shows include ‘Saphir’ at the Photographer’s Gallery (London, 2006); ‘Middle Sea’ at The Wapping Project (London, 2008); ‘Floating Coffins’ at the New Art Exchange (Nottingham, 2009); ‘Image Keepers’ at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2010); and ‘Lighthouse in the Sea of Time’ at the Blaffer Art Museum, (Houston, 2013). The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) presented ‘Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense’, a major survey exhibition of Zineb Sedira’s work spanning three SAF galleries, in 2018.
Prior to this, Sedira undertook an artist’s residency with Iniva and in 2003, she contributed to the publication, Veil: Veiling, Representation and Contemporary Art, published by Iniva and Modern Art Oxford, on the occasion of ‘Veil‘ – an Iniva touring exhibition initiated, developed and curated by Sedira in collaboration with other artists. In 2009, Iniva presented Sedira’s solo exhibition, ‘Currents of Time‘ which explored displacement and mobility and included an exhibition tour led by the artist. This work formed the basis for two panel discussions at Iniva: one around art and ecology, the other on migration in artists’ work. Her artwork was also the springboard for an artists’ conversation about the medium of sound. Iniva went on to show film screenings of Sedira’s film projects, Saphir (2006) and MiddleSea (2008), which – like her Currents of Time – drew on the sea as a symbol.
Sedira lives and works in London.