French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira to accept Venice Biennale nomination despite criticism

Thu, 2020-02-13 11:48

DUBAI: French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira, who was initially
selected to stand as the representative of France at the 2021
Venice Biennale, confirmed she will not “renounce” the
nomination after she was criticized for supporting Palestine. 

Sedira has been accused on social media of being an activist for
the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a
campaign that demands the boycott of Israel, withdrawal from the
occupied territories and the removal of the West Bank separation

In January, French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy tweeted: “How,
after the moving trip to Israel by President Emmanuel Macron (late
January), can France choose an artist for the next Venice Biennale
(who)… calls for a boycott of Israel?”

Comment après l’émouvant
voyage de @EmmanuelMacron
en Israël, la France peut-elle choisir, pour la représenter à la
biennale d’art de Venise, une artiste activiste du BDS, chantre
du boycott d’Israël? Ici, la lettre @franckriester
de mon amie J. Frydman! #BDS


— Bernard-Henri Lévy (@BHL)
January 29, 2020

Lévy also posted screengrabs of a letter sent from Jacqueline
Frydman, the director of Isart – a group that promotes cultural
exchange between France and Israel –  to the French culture
minister Franck Riester. 

The letter reads: “the Paris art world is shocked by your
choice of Zineb Sedira as the French representative (for the 2021

The artist then responded to the criticism in a statement on The
Art Newspaper saying: “As an Algerian-French woman, I have been
given an opportunity, a voice to continue being critical of all
forms of hatred and racism.”


In New Orleans! Home…

A post shared by
zineb sedira
(@zinebsedira) on May 14, 2018 at 5:34am PDT

“I have decided to not renounce representing France at the
next Venice Biennale, despite this attempt to silence me and
infringe on my freedom of expression,” she added. 

Sedira was the fourth woman selected for the French pavilion
since its creation in 1912, she said.

“What I was not prepared for was the level of discrimination
and intimidation, in response to my nomination,” Sedira

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French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira to accept Venice Biennale nomination despite criticism