Raw Queens brings together new and recent works by Fatima Mazmouz and Meriem Bennani which according to the press release ‘seeks to challenge cultural and political perceptions of women in the Arab world.’ Curated by Kulte Center for Contemporary Art and Editions, Morocco’s Director Yasmina Naji and in collaboration with The Mosaic Rooms, London, this exhibition presents the multimedia practise of two female Moroccan artists who question the constructions of women’s role in society as this intersection with notions of identifying, culture and feminism.
The exhibition begins with a riveting video installation in the first gallery by Mazmouz titled Made in Mode Grossesse: La Danse du Ventre (Made in Pregnancy Mode: the Belly Dance) (2009) that consists of a zoomed in shot of the artist belly dancing in the later stage of pregnancy. The work comments on the belly in this state as the forefront of a women’s identity in a work that is both humorous and defiant of identity constructs. The next gallery (also locate on the ground floor), also taken over by Mazmouz explores through performative photographs against the backdrop of a patterned made from mirrored silhouettes of guns paired to take on the image of a uterus, the tradition and myth of Chikhates. Chikha women are warrior like and powerful known to dance and perform with guns the ancient Aita traditions. The female body through these dances are transformed into animistic figures that the artist incorporates into cut out sculptures and wall motifs.
The exhibits concludes with a final gallery located in the basement which presents the video installation by New York based Ghariba/Stranger (2017) by Meriem Bennani. This work brings together women from the artist family and Chaabi pop divas in an intimate portrayal of the many identities women inhabit.
Raw Queens presents contemporary portrayals of Moroccan women today moving beyond colonial and oriental stereotypes of the Arab women and the complexities of identity. As curator Yasmina Naji aptly states ‘it’s a project to open up new spaces for conversations on gender and popular culture, to construct new representations of indigenous figures of power.’
It’s a platform for women to speak of and for theme selves.
The exhibition will be on view until 14th of September at Mosaic Rooms, London.