Rabat, Morocco, January 2014
Aglaia Haritz and Abdelaziz Zerrou worked in Rabat in collaboration with Le Cube Art Space, embroiderers from the Foundation Orient-Occident (working with immigrants form the Sub-Saharan region), from the Moroccan Association for the Education of the Youth (AMEJ) and the Cantonal Commission of Fine Arts in Switzerland.
Discussions with women were rather strained because of the difficult to speak freely, to break the taboo, but the little exchange we had was very sincere and intimate. The impossibility to discuss freely was imposed by the boss of the workshop, not from the group of embroiderers themselves, because when finally we could speak alone, discussions were very deep and interesting.
At AMAJ we asked young girls who did not finish school (or never started) to embroider 12 images of the outlined drawings of all existing unbroken hymen. The discussion was first about their lives and after some days we explained, with reticence also from the translator, what they were embroidering. We read some pages from the book “Au déla de tout pudeur” by Soumaya Naamane-Guessous.
The artwork “Le Serouel” is an embroidered map of Morocco like a bloodstain on a traditional Moroccan bride’s underpants. It refers to the traditional Moroccan rite consisting of showing all wedding guests that the husband takes the virginity of the bride. The artwork provokes questions about the virginity of Morocco and its traditions.
With some women who were immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we spoke about the subject of immigration, while they embroidered the map of the Mediterranean Sea, which has always been a link between the North and the South and is now a real wall, which dramatically separates the two entities.
The word « resistance » was stitched in Arabic on a transparent curtain. This resistance, created by women in the shadow and without voices, is in stark contrast to the cliché of violent resistance, but goes on and perseveres in everyday life, which is the construction of the future.
Four videos express the opinion of two immigrant women from the DRC and two Moroccans talk about the position of women in Morocco: it is a provocative and interesting element that forces us to see the situation from another point of view, because the various opinions are opposite and conflicting.
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