The Power Plant

In/Tension with Anna Binta Diallo and Berirouche Feddal

OCT 24 2023

“What interests me,” Montréal -based Anna Binta Diallo explains, “is how looking back can influence my present.” For Diallo, this reflection is an integral resource “to inspire me to create works that can have an impact on how we perceive ourselves, how we live our lives, and how we might also interpret our future.”

In our third episode—and first in French—Diallo joins fellow multimedia artist Berirouche Feddal for a conversation with curator and educator Diane Gistal reflecting on the central role of memory and personal identity in each artist’s work. From concepts of nostalgia and trauma to the importance of archives and the pair’s ongoing friendship, Diallo and Feddal unpack the manifold forces shaping their practices.

Courtesy Anna Binta Diallo

Courtesy Anna Binta Diallo

Born in Dakar, Senegal, growing up in Manitoba, and spending over fifteen years in Montreal, Anna Binta Diallo’s artwork investigates themes of memory and nostalgia to create unforeseen narratives that deconstruct and explore our understanding of identity. Borrowing from sources both historical and surreal, Diallo’s artworks often embody a dreamlike version of the Freudian uncanny, consisting of images that evoke both the foreign and familiar. Working through the mediums of collage, painting, drawing, design, and video, Diallo asks whether it is possible for the unknown experience to evoke nostalgia, while simultaneously questioning the ways in which we confront our conflicting identities and origins.

Diallo has exhibited widely across Canada and globally, having been featured in institutions like Centre CLARK in Monreal, Museum London in Ontario, and SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin. Her work was also included in the Momenta and Bamako Encounters biennials.

Alongside her substantial exhibition record, Diallo has received a number of honours and awards. These include the Barbara Spohr Memorial Prize from the Walter Phillips Gallery and the Black Designers of Canada Excellence Award, both in 2021. That same year, she was a finalist for the Salt Spring National Art Prize and later long-listed for the Sobey Art Award as well as named a finalist for the Visual Artist of the Year award at the sixth edition of Gala Dynastie. In addition, her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Courtesy Berirouche Feddal

Courtesy Berirouche Feddal

Born in Algeria and currently living and working in Montreal, Berirouche Feddal explores hidden and alternate aspects of history, identity, and culture through a plethora of media: paper, writing, print media, painting, glass, fabric, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation. This multidisciplinary approach allows Feddal to examine the concealed histories embedded in materials; investigating the way that these materials can express particular elements of those obscured pasts. His artworks deconstruct the complex nature of a diasporic identity by addressing themes such as African popular culture, fetishism, African utopia, mythological and religious traces, Decolonial studies, and his own migration. The result is an examination of the perpetually changing role of cultural heritage in our modern world.

Feddal has been featured in myriad exhibitions across the globe: the Dak'Art OFF Biennale in Dakar, Senegal (2022); Pelures at Bradley Ertaskiran in Montréal (2020), Conversation at Mayten’s in Toronto (2021); Procédés divers at Circa Art Actuel in Montréal (2020); Inconfort at Marc Gosselin Galerie in Montréal (2020); Mon cœur s’attache à ses âmes fragiles at Galerie Laroche/Joncas in Montréal (2020) and La Conserverie in Marrakech, Morocco.

In the short period since completing his MFA at Concordia University in 2020, Feddal has garnered widespread acclaim for his growing body of work. He has received numerous accolades such as DémArt from Conseil des arts de Montréal (2021), grants from Concordia University's Fine Arts Student Alliance (2017-2019), and First Prize from the Department of Art Visuels Marie-Victorin in Montréal (2016).

In/Tension, produced by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, is a limited podcast series of intimate, thought-provoking and accessible conversations with emerging, mid-career, and established contemporary visual artists across Canada. In/Tension aims to shed light on the breadth of the Canadian contemporary art scene and provide a platform for diverse artistic voices to dive deep into their creative intentions and facets of their practice.

This project is supported by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

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