Yto Barrada

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat

Doha, Mathaf
dal 2 Agosto al 30 Novembre 2020

The exhibition

Yto Barrada’s work engages with self-education, architecture, palaeontology, botany, and modernist histories, in order to explore forms of knowledge production. Through material and archival research and experimentation, Barrada’s work examines what is at stake in specific moments of obstruction. Allowing the body of the histories and narratives she works with to echo across one another, connections emerge between expressions of autonomy and new relationships to temporality.
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat brings together photographs, films, videos, sculptures, prints, and fabric works. The exhibition focuses on threads of regeneration and growth in social and geological transformation. The works highlight the importance of the vernacular in processes of decomposition and revival, drawing on histories of nation building and post-independence strategies of resistance in social and domestic life.

Weaving interdisciplinary methods within a framework of dark humour, global economy and geologic time, the exhibition articulates a critical desire for equality, self-expression and empowerment. This is evinced in the parallel but distinct lives of Barrada’s mother, Mounira Bouzid El Alami, central protagonist of Tree Identification for Beginners (2018); French ethnographer Thérèse Rivière; and Lebanese modernist Saloua Raouda Choucair, who play crucial roles in this exhibition. Their life stories and practices in the fields of geometry, architecture and botany are rich sources for Barrada’s (re)narration of modernist histories of art, architecture, design and social development. These visionary women each engage with abstract, self-taught ways of living and learning — techniques of creativity and inventiveness — that are revalued as contemporary skills.
Working with tactics of self-learning and myth-making through theatrics and props, Barrada challenges how plurality and validity exists and is disseminated. This take on the language of learning is drawn on in the series Mnemonic Phrases (2019), from which this exhibition borrows its title.

The catalogue

This book reveals the work of the artist and activist Yto Barrada. Her artistic practice draws upon the roles of activist, educator, architect, botanist and anthropologist to explore expressions of communality and individual being. The exhibition presented at Mathaf focuses on the threads of regeneration and growth moving between architecture, urban transformation, horticulture, experimental education and home economics. Weaving together these interdisciplinary methods of making and discovery, the exhibition articulates desires for equality, self-expression and exploration.
The artist’s personal and collective experiences of Tangier are expressed through a multitude of mediums to investigate the structures and systems of life in that city. These work in parallel with similar investigations by the artist into systems in the US, to compose a critical and poetic reading of overlooked histories and realities. Barrada’s works in this exhibition offer an open dialogue on the possible restitution of basic democratic ideals such as shelter, sustenance and communality.
Barrada’s work offers a mode of associative thinking and making, emphasising the right to exist, learn and shape the world around us. In the galleries, her works live together, presenting starting points for possible collective narratives, which recirculate within the spaces as a composition and as new stories in themselves.

Doha, Mathaf, August - November 2020


HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Abdellah Karroum

In Good Practice
Laura Barlow

Yto Barrada: Taking Back the Tools
Ruba Katrib

Hallucinating the City and the Self: Yto Barrada’s ‘Ether Reveries (Suite for Thérèse Rivière No. 2)’
Mason Leaver-Yap


List of Works

Exhibition Installation Views

Artist’s Biography

Yto Barrada

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat

  € 35,00