A Life Full Of Holes - The Strait Project

Yto Barrada @ The Open Eye Gallery
12th February - 2nd April 2005

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In the first UK solo exhibition by the French/Moroccan photographer Yto Barrada, she has asssembled a series of large scale images, which, as she explained "explores the pertinent issues of migration and diaspora, access and exclusion."

Her photography project is on-going, having first been initiated in 1998.

The title of the exhibition refers to the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow channel that divides Europe and Africa, and is a powerful symbol of migration and dispalcement of people.

"My work attempts, in part, to exorcise the unspoken violence of other people's departures," Barrada stated.

"Today the Strait is the main gateway for illegal immigrants, bound north with their own vocabulary, legends, songs, rites and languages," she added.

Outstanding images in the exhibition includes a highly abstract piece of an aerial photograph of a popular poster taken in Tangier.

A symbolic work, relating to hidden identity, is 'Rue De La Liberte', which shows a person's figure being masked behind the figure of another person.

An image symbolising dehumanised living is contained in 'Factory 1', which is taken in a prawn processing palnt in the free trade zone in Tangier. It reminded me of hens being cooped up together under harsh artificial conditions.