Meriem Bennani

1988, Morocco ; lives and works in New York


From New York, where she has been living for several years, Meriem Bennani re-stages images and snapshots about the culture of the country of her birth, Morocco, showing an interest mainly in the place of women and the way they have been appropriating musical and sartorial customs. Famous in Morocco, Siham & Hafida had never met before M. Bennani decided to make them the two leading actresses in her film (2017); Hafida, the eldest, is a dedicated chickha, a popular singer in the oral tradition of the aïta. This musical style with its irreverent lyrics about the colonial society set up in Morocco in the late 19th century usually went hand-in-hand with important events, and represented a call for freedom. Today, this tradition still endures but through new figures, like the young Siham, whose performances are widely informed by the Internet and relayed on the social networks. Like a docu-fiction, M. Bennani films Siham and Hafida with all their distinctive and differing characteristics, questioning, alongside them, the changes in local traditions and their methods of transmission by the yardstick of globalization.
At La Criée, the film breaks up into a whole host of projections within which the narrative diffracts and sometimes has fun with the appearance of animated effects; here a crab, there a butterfly, teasing the convictions of the two protagonists.

En co-production avec / co-produced by Fondation d’entreprise Ricard ; Stanley Picker Gallery, Londres et / and La Criée centre d’art contemporain

Siham & Hafida, 2017

La Criée centre d'art contemporain

Video installation (30’)

Courtesy of the artist and SIGNAL, New York.
Coproduction Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Stanley Picker Gallery, La Criée centre d’art contemporain et Les Ateliers de Rennes – 2018