Image rights: © Sabrina Amrani and the artist
About Zoulikha Bouabdellah
Algerian-born, Paris-based Zoulikha Bouabdellah creates work that explores identity, the sense of place, and corresponding themes of globalization, otherness, and oppression. Fusing the Arabic, French, and English languages with a rotating cast of religious and social symbols, Bouabdellah’s works are semiotic palimpsests that bring to light cultural differences as well as similarities. Her well-known Cheris (2007) explores themes of love alongside the Arabic language and its associations. In the immense installation, 300 sheets of white paper are scrawled with red Arabic characters, resembling blood. Each sheet represents a different Arabic word for love, referencing universal human emotions that transcend national borders and conflicts. In 2009, Bouabdellah was awarded the Abraaj Capital Prize, in Dubaï, for Walk on the Sky, Pisces (2009), an immersive, mirrored installation that delves into the tale of King Solomon and Queen Sheba to suggest shared religious histories and gender distinctions. In Christian, Jewish, and Muslim texts alike, Solomon tricks Sheba into lifting her dress when she mistakes a polished floor for water.
Algerian, b. 1977, Moscow, Russia, based in Paris, France