"Girl with red hair - Ferry from Algeciras to Tangier, 2002" and "A spelling class at the Darna centre for street children - Tangier, 1999”, both from A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project © Yto Barrada.

Without question two of my absolute favourite photographs, from an excellent body of work. Yto’s photography is tightly bound up with questions of identity, of postcolonial identity, of the liminal nature of those North African societies at the periphery of Europe or on the marginal edge of globalised contemporary culture. Her individual photographs are rarely specific enough to appear to make a specific argument, and are thus poor bedfellows for the interests of photojournalism, but cumulatively in her way of sequencing them they are full of sophisticated entanglements with issues such as the tension between ancient and modern history and concomitantly between traditional and contemporary senses of self and society, and they treat intelligently and with great openness the ways in which folklore, gender roles, neoliberal economics and imperial history interweave to produce the kind of stasis (or even entropy) that she observes in her familial home of Tangier. She manages consistently to make work with deep sensitivity that nevertheless retains its right to circumspection, and her photographs are very often elusive in any denotative sense but indelibly inscribed in the mind once encountered. She won the Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year Award last year (2011), and her large scale exhibition at that museum has been published in a catalogue by Hatje Cantz.

More to follow soon on A Life Full of Holes, but keep an eye peeled for her forthcoming eponymous monograph, due early April. If you’re interested in hearing her speak about A Life Full of Holes, there’s a thoughtful dialogue up in two parts here and here.

@2 years ago with 8 notes
#Photography #Documentary photography #Yto Barrada 
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