One of the reoccurring themes in Atef Berredjem's work is illegal immigration. Stars, a performance combined with installation, has been conceived during his residency at Delfina Foundation. Performance is a relatively new discipline in Berredjem's artistic repertoire, which also spans sculpture, painting and installation works such as The Raft of Lampedusa (2009), which has been recreated, for Secret Cinema's current production.
Stars focuses on the African clandestine immigrant who exposes their leaders' futility through deserting their native countries, often risking their lives, to reach the northern bank of the Mediterranean [Europe]. This work also tackles the loss that these countries endure when their finest minds abandon ship, thus creating a vicious circle.
The audience was invited to see the performance from 6.45 - 7.15pm, after which Berredjem was joined by artist Zineb Sedira for a 30-minute conversation about this work, examining the common dualities of their practice. Drawing on her personal experiences of immigrating to France from Algeria, much of Zineb Sedira's previous work focuses on issues of mobility, language and storytelling using photography and video. ‘The sea' is one of the focal points of her current work. She is interested in the historical, cultural and contemporary ‘movement' of the sea as well as the connection and separation point between South and North.
Berredjem's 6-week residency was realised as part of New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK, which examines issues of diaspora, migration, memory and identity by investigating the cultural and personal aspects of journeying across politically connected countries. New Cartographies was on view at Cornerhouse in Manchester until 5 June 2011. More info: www.cornerhouse.org.
For further information on Secret Cinema, please go to www.secretcinema.org
The event took place at Delfina Foundation.
Zineb Sedira lives in London but works between Algiers, London and Paris. She received a BA from Central Saint Martins in Critical Fine Art Practice in 1995, MFA in Media at Slade School of Art in 1997. Sedira has exhibited both internationally and nationally. Solo exhibitions include Currents of Time at Rivington Place, London; Les rêves n'ont pas de titre, Musée d'Art Contemporain (France); Saphir, Photographer's Gallery London; and MiddleSea, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art (Canada) to name but a few.
Atef Berredjem (b. 1982) graduated from the Algiers Fine Arts Academy in 2007. He has shown his work in various collective exhibitions, such as Memory at the Citadelle, Algiers (2005), Catalan Caravan at the French Cultural Centre in Annaba (2008) and Casbah/Basket at the District Gallery in Marseilles (2008), Modernity in African Art Today at National Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Algiers (2009) and ARTifariti International Festival in Western Sahara (2009).