“When I moved from Tangier to New York in 2012, my galleries were a bit concerned: what would I have to say, once I no longer lived atop the source of all my preoccupations? I discovered there was Another Tangier. An island in Chesapeake bay of Virginia, just a few hours drive from NYC… and a little research revealed that not only did this Tangier have a particular name – it was, like the Moroccan version, one of the more interesting places on earth.
The landmass these Tangiermen inhabit has shrunk 67% since climate change began; scientists predict that the town will surrender to the rising sea levels in the coming decades.
The population of around 500 mostly subsist from soft-shell crabs and tourism. When I visited though, the most striking aspect of Tangier was that I couldn’t understand anything they said.
Yto Barrada (Moroccan, French, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work — including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations, — began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.
She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. A comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University) and was awarded the 2015 Abraaj Prize.Download full CV