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A video that uses the history of a magazine – Cairo’s Al-Hilal ‘50s and ‘60s collection – as the starting point for an inquiry into Jamila Bouhired, the Algerian freedom fighter. An actress designated to play her role is showing the magazine’s covers to the camera. From the different representations of Jamila in cinema to her assimilation and promotion through the magazine, the performance attempts to look at the history of socialist projects in Egypt, anti-colonial wars in Algeria, and the way they have promoted and marginalized feminist projects. The clear gender division used to marginalize women from the public sphere was overcome for a short moment during the Algerian war of independence (Jamila becoming its icon). Different voices and film and print material are used to explore this history. What does it mean to play the role of the freedom fighter? What does it mean to become an icon? Between role playing and political projects, how does the constitution of the subject serve certain political purposes?
Marwa Arsanios lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. She obtained her MFA from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London (2007) and was a researcher in the fine art department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie (2011-2012). She has exhibited in London, Beirut, Athens, Oxford, Lisbon, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Damascus, and recently at NGBK in Berlin. Her films have been shown worldwide, including at Forum Expanded of the Berlinale in 2010. She is a founding member of the artist organization and project space 98weeks Research Project, and one of the organizers of the traveling project Platform Translation. Marwa is also a part-time teacher.
Contact: email@example.com www.marwaarsanios.info
Format: Quick Time ProRes, colour
Running time: 25 min