Anyone longing for the sea in this humidity will benefit from a visit to the darkened gallery at Rivington Place in Shoreditch. French Algerian artist Zineb Sedira uses photography and video installations to depict the ships’ graveyard on the coast of Mauritiana, the departure point for many north Africans trying to reach Europe. Here, ‘floating coffins’, in the form of abandoned ships, are left to slowly crumble in the heat, and the artist’s recordings of bird calls and the rhythmic sounds of the waves emphasise the loneliness of the place. There are more than 300 ships abandoned here from a time when local officials would accept cash from international companies looking to cheaply offload unwanted vessels.
As well as the still images, which are vividly illuminated on lightboxes, there is video footage of a man carefully paddling out to one of the rusty ships, which provide loot for locals. As the artist says: “Floating Coffins is a space where life, death, loss, escape, abandoned and shipwrecked journeys meet. It’s both a toxic graveyard and a source of survival and hope.”
On at Rivington Place in Shoreditch until July 27. Tel 7749 1240