to Barrada (b. 1971; lives and works in New York and Tangier) combines the strategies of documentary with a metaphoric approach to imagery in her photographic, film, and sculptural work. Her artistic practice also involves engaging her local community with its own cultural history, most visibly by the renovation of a 1930s movie palace in the heart of Tangier. In 2006, Barrada reenergized the abandoned structure in the city’s famed Casbah district as a way to engage with the collective memory and material history of Tangier. Cinéma Rif, as the theater is named, was brought to life as both a cultural center and a place to discover the films and remarkable history of filmmaking in Morocco.
An Album: Cinémathèque Tangier, a project by Yto Barrada includes films, artworks, and artifacts that speak to the artist’s connection with the social and political realities that shape her hometown. In the gallery, screenings of short works from the cinémathèque’s archive show Tangier as it has been imagined only through movies. Sculptures by Barrada—Palm Sign and a set of dioramas that depict cinemas during the heyday of grand theaters—are presented with her film Hand-Me-Downs (2011), a montage of Super-8 home movies from the 1960s. Artist-commissioned and official film posters showing the romantic Tangier of film legend are also on view. Together, these elements create a kind of album that portrays Morocco’s rich and complex visual and cinematic culture.