Yto Barrada

Gardner Photography Fellow 2013

Photo of Yto BarradaBorn in Paris, and raised in Morocco and France, Barrada lives and works in New York, USA, and Tangier, Morocco. Her work has appeared internationally in exhibitions including Art Dubai, the Tate Gallery (London), the Fowler Museum (Los Angeles), MoMA (New York and San Francisco), Jeu du Paume (Paris) and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale. According to Peabody Essex Museum’s Curator of Photography, Phillip Prodger, “Barrada has a gift for finding personal, intimate moments that capture the real-life effects of global trade and exchange. “ Barrada’s artistic practice includes photographs, film, sculpture, and print publication, all of which she will create during her fellowship year to complete the project, “A Hole is to Dig.”

For "A Hole is to Dig," Barrada will engage with the complex terrain of paleontology in her native Morocco. Since spinosaurus (spine lizard), one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs, was first found in Morocco in 1912, dozens of paleontological expeditions have ventured into the Moroccan desert to explore bones preserved by the dry terrain. Today Morocco is an open site for scientific study, but public fascination with dinosaurs has made them subject to a new breed of predator: plunderers, from small time souvenir collectors to international antiquities thieves. Like other nations, Morocco struggles to protect and preserve its natural history and cultural heritage from the vast illicit market for antiquities of all types. Barrada will explore multiple human perspectives, from scientists, museums, and cultural heritage professionals,to those who collect fossils, and those who plunder them and manufacture fakes.