Biennale of Sydney

Mohamed Bourouissa

Mohamed Bourouissa, Brutal Family Roots, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, and assistance from the Ambassade de France en Australie; Institut Français; and the Council for Australia-Arab Relations. Courtesy the artist; Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles. This artwork was created through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust. Audio collaboration with Jordan Quinqueret, Nardean and MC Kronic. Photograph: Jessica Maurer
Mohamed Bourouissa, Brutal Family Roots, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, and assistance from the Ambassade de France en Australie; Institut Français; and the Council for Australia-Arab Relations. Courtesy the artist; Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles. This artwork was created through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust. Audio collaboration with Jordan Quinqueret, Nardean and MC Kronic. Photograph: Jessica Maurer
Mohamed Bourouissa, Brutal Family Roots, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, and assistance from the Ambassade de France en Australie; Institut Français; and the Council for Australia-Arab Relations. Courtesy the artist; Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles. This artwork was created through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust. Audio collaboration with Jordan Quinqueret, Nardean and MC Kronic. Photograph: Jessica Maurer
Mohamed Bourouissa, Mimosa, 2018. Courtesy Kamel Mennour, Paris and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

Mohamed Bourouissa

Born 1978 in Blida, Algeria
Lives and works in Paris, France


“My work revolves around notions of power and the mechanisms at play in contemporary society. One form of power remains that of control: control of information, control of bodies, control of territory and language.”

Mohamed Bourouissa’s meditative yellow sound installation reflects on his childhood memories of the Acacia tree, commonly referred to in Australia as the ‘wattle’ tree. Known for its golden-yellow flowers, this plant is for the artist a romantic link to his childhood in Algeria. After learning of its proliferation within Australia, Bourouissa was inspired to connect directly to the bushlands in greater Sydney through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust. Observing the colonial migrations of plant species globally, Bourouissa identified the early movements of the Acacia from Australia to Algeria through natural-history expeditions. Forming connection between the dispersion and adaptation of plants like the Acacia and the passages of language, Bourouissa has developed a complex algorithmic system that translates the unspoken language of the Acacia tree in order to share its story. Bourouissa collaborated with MC Kronic (a Waddi Waddi man of the Yuin Nation and local hip-hop/rap artist, activist and poet), Nardean (an Egyptian-Australian MC, poet, singer and songwriter) and French sound designer and programmer Jordan Quiqueret to transform the active energy frequencies of the living Acacia into audible, rhythmic frequencies. Together, the Acacia speak of colonial truths in a mesmerising form. The symphonic vibrations generated by these plants invite a quiet contemplation of ideas of localisation and globalisation, as well as relocation and colonialisms.

Preceded by a long immersive phase, each of Mohamed Bourouissa's projects builds a new, enunciated situation. Unlike simplistic and false media constructions, the artist reintroduces complexity into the representation of the margins of hypervisibility.

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, and assistance from the Ambassade de France en Australie; Institut Français; and the Council for Australia-Arab Relations. This artwork was created through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust. Courtesy the artist; Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles.

Exhibited at

Exhibited Artwork

Brutal Family Roots, 2020
mixed-media installation with audio, acacia and carpet
Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, and assistance from the Ambassade de France en Australie, and the Council for Australian-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This artwork was created through an artist residency at the Bundanon Trust.
Courtesy the artist; Kamel Mennour, Paris; and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles
Audio collaboration with Jordan Quinqueret, Nardean and MC Kronic

Location: Cockatoo Island