Friday 25 June 18:00 - 19:00

Shoreditch Library
80 Hoxton Street
N1 6LP


Zineb Sedira & Juan Cruz in conversation, moderated by Gilane Tawadros


Join Zineb Sedira and Juan Cruz as they discuss their respective works in the Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds exhibition.

During this in conversation, chaired by Gilane Tawadros, artists Zineb Sedira and Juan Cruz will discuss their cultural and linguistic heritage and childhood memories though generational family relationships, and the inherent complexities of translation and communication.

The Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds exhibition features Sedira’s film Mother Tongue (2002), a video triptych in which the artist questions the relationship between her mother, her daughter and herself. Across generations Arabic, French and English are spoken, and their informal conversational dialogue about childhood memory poignantly addresses the variable elements of language as primary forms of communication. Cruz presents his recorded durational performance of his simultaneous translation of the whole of Don Quixote, commissioned by PEER in 2005.

Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds (SOW) is a multi-platform and multi-media arts programme celebrating Hackney’s ethnic diversity that explores how language shapes and informs cultural and individual identities. Between June and August 2021, Hoxton Street neighbours PEER and Shoreditch Library will become the two main venues for a project that intersects visual arts with the written, spoken and printed word. The project will take the form of three strands of programme:

  • A poetry publication consisting of over 100 poems, one to represent each language spoken in Hackney. The poems will appear in their original language and their English translation. 3,000 copies will be given to Hackney Library Members for free.
  • A multi-media group exhibition at both PEER and Shoreditch Library exploring themes of cultural identity, endangered and lost languages, modern communication, literary history and poetry.
  • A 10-week public programme of live and virtual events and workshops.

Participant Bios

Zineb Sedira is a London-based Franco-Algerian feminist photographer and video artist, best known for her work exploring the human relationship to geography. She is one of four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021, which will be shown at The Photographers’ Gallery this summer. She will also represent France at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. Solo exhibitions include: A Brief Moment at Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2019); IVAM‑Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (2019); Outside the Lines, Galerie ART & ESSAI, Rennes, France (2019); Zineb Sedira @ NOW 5, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland (2019); Laughter in Hell, galerie kamel mennour, Paris, France (2018) Of Words and Stones, Beirut Art Center (BAC), Lebanon (2018) and Collecting Lines, Art On the Underground (commission), London (2016). Her work will soon be exhibited at the Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2021), the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, US (2021) and De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, England (2021-2022) and at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2022). Sedira is also founder of aria (artist residency in algiers), a residency program to support the development of the contemporary art scene in Algeria through international cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations.

Juan Cruz is an artist and educator whose work has had broad dissemination, being exhibited at Matt’s Gallery, London; Camden Arts Centre, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid; the Edinburgh International Festival; the Melbourne Festival and MUSAC, Spain. He is a director of the IAAC (International Awards for Art Criticism) , and a trustee of the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, which governs the John Moores Painting Prizes in Liverpool and Shanghai, both projects established to develop greater cultural understanding and exchange. He has been a trustee of the Liverpool Biennale, a member of Tate Liverpool Council and a member of the Nine Elms Development Board. Juan is a member of AICA and a fellow of the Royal College of Art.

He has worked at a broad range of institutions, both specialist and generalist, and with varying missions and profiles, and is currently Principal at Edinburgh College of Art.

Gilane Tawadros is Chief Executive for DACS, a not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation, established by artists for artists. She was the founding Director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) in London, chaired by Professor Stuart Hall, which, over a decade, achieved an international reputation as a ground-breaking cultural agency at the leading edge of artistic and cultural debates nationally and internationally. She has curated numerous exhibitions and has written extensively on contemporary art. She is a Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Stuart Hall Foundation. She is a Trustee of the Stuart Croft Foundation, a member of the Whitechapel Art Gallery Editorial Board and serves on the Board of European Visual Arts (EVA) and on the Intellectual Property Office's (IPO) Copyright Advisory Panel.

PEER is an independent arts organisation that has evolved from the ground up over the past twenty years, putting down deep roots within the socially, culturally and economically diverse area of Hoxton in East London. Led by ideas and excellence, PEER embeds its activities into the local community to offer and promote the highest quality art as being part of daily life. PEER is part of the Art Council England’s National Portfolio and strives to make a positive impact on the local environment through its exhibitions, public art and engagement programmes. The gallery provides a platform for a wide range of emerging, mid-career and established artists, enabling them to take new risks; and works with the local community and local partners to deliver programming centred on nurturing long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.


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