Biography of Yto Barrada
Having initially made a name for herself as a photographer, Yto Barrada has become increasingly drawn to the mediums of film and sculptural installation. Much of her work focuses on the changes and influences that have affected Tangier and the way notions of the local and the global have been articulated there. Her work Beau Geste, 2009 explores the effects of globalization in Tangier through unspectacular images occurring in such places as car parks and abandoned buildings. The video focuses on locals making a doomed, but nonetheless concerted effort to delay the construction of a generic new development project by reinforcing a lone tree. The tree becomes a pitiful emblem in the face of encroaching modernization, where town planners threaten to homogenize landscapes as well as human lives.
Yto Barrada first attracted public attention with her project A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project, 1998–2003, photographing the Strait of Gibraltar and life on its Moroccan side including scenes of construction sites, urban environments, and domestic settings. Born in France in 1971 to Moroccan parents, Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her dual French and Moroccan citizenship has enabled her to explore her nationality from both perspectives and locales.
Yto Barrada exhibited at the Tate Modern in London in 2011 and in that same year was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year, her exhibition RIFFS shown extensively, notably at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. She received the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography in 2013 and in 2016 won the Canon Tiger Award for Short Film.