Historically, chikha performers in Morocco have provided entertainment for important celebrations and, as significant, spread lyrics of resistance during the era of French colonization. Yet tensions have arisen as performers negotiate a globalized society propelled by personal technology. Extending Meriem Bennani’s ecstatic depictions of female roles ascribed by culture, her new video offers an intimate view into the lives of Siham and Hafida, two women whose intergenerational conflicts regarding the chikha tradition reflect greater shifts in Moroccan culture of the past 50 years. Moreover, their oppositional approaches point to uncanny parallels between the new presence of chikha performance on social media and the oral traditions of Aita, the musical genre of the chikha and its dances. Bennani captures the performance of femininity celebrated by social and religious mores, as well as the less constrained moments in which this performance can recede. Curated by Lumi Tan.
September 13–October 21
Exhibition Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11am–6pm
Opening Reception: September 13, 6–8pm
Please note the 30–minute video will begin on the hour and half-hour.
Exhibitions are always free thanks to the support of our members. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.
Meriem Bennani: “Siham & Hafida” is made possible with generous support from Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida; annual grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Marta Heflin Foundation, and Cowles Charitable Trust; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
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