Eye on Art: Meriem Bennani
From talking crocodiles to envious chikha artists: the world created by artist Meriem Bennani is populated by a colourful cast of characters. In 2019, she won the Eye Art & Film Prize for her films and installations, in which she effortlessly moves between documentary, animation, advertising, reality TV, parody, soap and social media. Today we’re showing two of Bennani’s films: Siham & Hafida and LIFE ON THE CAPS: Party on the CAPS.
Meriem Bennani (1988) grew up in Rabat and studied in Paris and New York, where she lives. Her films are full of pop music, over-the-top sound effects and anthropomorphic animals and embrace the hectic tempo and seductive effects and filters of online culture. Her sense of humour is disarming: she communicates with a wide audience on at times uncomfortable topics such as gender equality, refugee policies, mass surveillance, discrimination and acceptance of Arabic culture in the West.
This programme screens two of Bennani’s films that are not included in the exhibition. Siham & Hafida (2017) offers a glimpse into the lives of two rival chikha artists. The women practice a traditional form of dance and song prominent in Moroccan nightlife and parties, but which was also a form of resistance during the French colonial era. The tension between Siham and Hafida is not only an example of an intergenerational conflict, but also characteristic of the way Moroccan culture is changing under the influence of globalisation and social media.
LIFE ON THE CAPS: Party on the CAPS (2018-19) is set in a future where flying has made way for teleportation. Migrants trying to reach America illegally by teleporting are intercepted by the authorities and held in camps on the island CAPS. Crocodile Fiona talks about life in this bubbling Moroccan neighbourhood. The film shows how important humour is as a form of political resistance.
The evening is introduced by Marian Cousijn (Eye) and Riad Salameh, artist and executive director of the Salwa Foundation.
Eye on Art
Eye on Art is a programme on the intersection between film and other arts. Eye on Art keeps up with current events, with presentations on contemporary artists and programmes that coincide with important exhibitions, manifestations and Eye activities.
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