© Diego Franssens
Am I the only one who is like me? This is a question characteristic of Saddie Choua’s (°Bree, 1971) life and work. It problematizes the position of the solitary I that is also never disconnected from the other. The power order that conditions the solitary “I”, is another central subject. Where does this otherness sit in the hierarchy of power? Where is her oppression and exploitation concealed or exoticed?
Saddie Choua asks us to think about how we consume images and dialogues about the other and how they affect our self-image and historical consciousness. How can we intervene in the images that write our history and conceal social struggle? Do we first have to refute memory to tell another story? Or is the removal or recombining of certain associations and references already sufficient to create a different history and self-image?
Saddie Choua's work can therefore be read as a fragmented self-reflective visual essay that questions the relationship between maker and image. How do you make blind spots that just invite you to forget visible? How to speak and depict differently from a subalternal position, or is it just the concept of "the other" that confines her in dominant images and narratives?
Saddie Choua lives and works in Brussels and Ostend. She uses meta-documentary tactics, collage, own (film) material, re-appropriation of popular intercultural formats and autobiographical elements to put racism, discrimination against women and class, and her cats in the spotlight. She creates a new pseudo-realistic imaginary world that is at once highly recognizable and utterly alien. It is her way of undermining the (visual) language of our media and of sharpening the critical and political gaze of her audience. The challenge is to create 'situations' that reveal the power structures behind the images that we internalize and reproduce. Saddie is a doctoral researcher at the RITCS in Brussels and a lecturer at Sint Lucas Antwerp and the RITCS. She is one of the laureates of the Belgian Art Prize 2020.
Saddie Choua had solo and group exhibitions at, among others, BOZAR, Brussels, 2014; WIELS, Brussels, 2015; Marrakech Biennial, Marrakech, 2016; MU.ZEE, Ostend, 2016; Showroom, Sint Lucas School of Arts, Antwerp, 2016; KIOSK, Ghent, 2017; Festival Concreto, Fortaleza, 2017; Kooshk-Air Antwerp, Tehran, 2018; Kanal-Centre Pompidou, Brussels, 2018-2019; Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, 2018; Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne, 2018; Villa Empain, Brussels, 2018; Contour Biennal, Mechelen, 2019, Biennale Warszawa, Warsaw, 2019; La Veronica Gallery, Modica, 2020; Les Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, 2020; Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Paris, 2020; Temporary Gallery, Cologne, 2020; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2020; Extra City, Antwerp, 2021; Kunstverein Hamburg 2021; Kadist, Paris, 2021; Undercurrent Gallery, NYC, 2021. Her work is in national and international private and public collections.