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Currents of Time: New Work by Zineb Sedira

Migration in artists’ work

18 Jun 2009

Irit Rogoff, Goldsmiths College and David Dibosa, Chelsea College of Art in conversation

Mark Nash, Royal College of Art London, Irit Rogoff, Goldsmiths College and David Dibosa, Wimbledon College of Art in discussion exploring migration in artists works.

Zineb Sedira’s work is the starting point for a broader discussion.

Zineb Sedira’s installation Floating Coffins is a representation of Nouadhibou. Nouadhibou itself began as a fishing port. In the mid-1960s, a time when rail links developed into the African continent, it became an exit point for iron ore leaving for Europe and the United States. This coastline has always looked out internationally. Today Nouadhibou is also the route for people migrating illegally from Africa to Europe. It is a long and dangerous route where people cross the desert and barter their way across the sea; a transit at its most dangerous made on unsafe crafts.

Zineb Sedira as an artist has always been interested in migration, mobility and displacement. Working with film and still images she has developed a language, over the last ten years or so, which not only reflects her own history and background but connects to key issues in the wider world.

Irit Rogoff writes extensively on the conjunctions of contemporary art with critical theory with particular reference to issues of colonialism, cultural difference and performativity. She is the author of several books in that matter. Rogoff is also director of an international AHRB research project ‘Translating the Image: Cross-cultural Contemporary Arts’ housed at Goldsmiths College.