Yto Barrada’s work revolves around the politics and culture of her hometown, Tangier, Morocco. She began her academic career studying political science and later explored photography as well as film, sculpture, and installation art. In her current work, Barrada contrasts images portrayed by the tourism industry with the experiences of Moroccan natives. Although Morocco has been independent for fifty years, as she wrote in Cabinet, “there are no flâneurs here, and no innocent bystanders” following Tangier’s modernization. “My work attempts in part to exorcise the unspoken violence of other people’s departures. I too left Tangier for more than ten years. By moving back, I have placed myself amidst the violence of homecoming.”
A talk by Barrada kicked off the Academy’s 2017–18 theme East and West as she discussed her work on Morocco in a conversation with MAXXI curator Bartolomeo Pietromarchi. Her projects have been exhibited at Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou, and the Cinémathèque de Tanger, the first cinema cultural center in north Africa, for which she served as founding director. The Academy will also present a single-artist exhibition of her new work on the East and West theme next spring.