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Live online Performances by Samira Saleh.
Live screening of Who's Afraid of Ideology Part 1 & 2, (2017-19) by Marwa Arsanios, followed by a discussion between Marwa Arsanios and Myriam Bahaffou.
This third chapter, entitled Resistance, is hinged upon questions of language, collective responsibility, and self-governance. In her slam poetry performance, Samira Saleh questions the intersections of gender-related and feminist struggles and examines their interaction with climate change. She gives access to alternative narratives on domination related to gender and ecology. To this end, ecofeminism is posited as an activist philosophy, a “holistic approach to all forms of domination: be it sexual, racist, or specist” (Ariel Saleh). Ecofeminism combines the calling into question of the patriarchy with environmental issues inherited from economic systems such as extractivism. In addition to the possibility of considering gender outside of a simplified process of assignment, this movement criticizes colonialism and a whole host of other oppressive relations. It advocates for a reexamination of socio-environmental issues, and criticises certain forms of Western (woman’s) emancipation. Refusal of a liberal, urban, and Eurocentric context opens up the path to another way to engage with each other and the world. Ecofeminism suggests that we reconsider feminist ideals, overthrow social structures and review the ways we measure “progress”.
Marwa Arsanios’ project Who’s Afraid of Ideology (2017-2019) recounts the stories of women as they reclaim land and reconnect with nature amidst a context of war and crumbling democracy. Shot between Syria and Lebanon, the two first chapters of this trilogy follow several ecofeminist groups, including the Kurdish autonomous Women’s Movement, the women of Jinwar, a women-only village in Rojava, northern Syria, and a cooperative based in the Beqaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. Their quest for subsistence and independence leads these women to create a new relationship with the environment. By analysing the bonds built in these female communities and taking the ecological context into consideration, Marwa Arsanios unearths the question of why women are traditionally assigned a role of caregiver. She brings up issues related to knowledge transfer, and sheds light upon the origins of the troubles that these women, having lived through wars, now bear the load of repairing.
Marwa Arsanios is a lebanese artist, filmmaker and researcher who reconsiders politics of the mid-twentieth century from a contemporary perspective, with a particular focus on gender relations, urbanism, and industrialisation. She approaches research collaboratively and seeks to work across disciplines. Her work takes the form of archival installations, texts, films, and performances and reflects contemporary politico-social questions from the Middle East within a historical perspective. Her recent projects have more specifically taken into consideration issues of ecology, feminism, social organisation, nation-building, war, and economic struggle. She obtained her MFA from University of the Arts London (UK) and has worked as a researcher at Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht (NL). She co-founded the research project 98Weeks in 2007. Her work has been shown in international contexts such as the Kunsthalle Wien (AT); Beirut Art Center (LB); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (US), and Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL).
Myriam Bahaffou is a French feminist activist and researcher in feminist philosophy and gender studies. In her work, she invites us to go beyond the normative discourse of current ecology in order to develop new paths that are resolutely political, decolonial and multi-species. She is primarily interested in the link between humans and animals and the social relationships that result from them. In 2019 she founded the ecofeminist collective Voix Déterres and thus tries to revive a more intersectional vision of ecofeminism in France.
Samira Saleh is a Belgium-based spoken word performer, Educational Sciences student, and organizer who grew up with three backgrounds: Egyptian from home, Moroccan in her immediate environment, and Dutch. Her artistic language is one that is direct, unfiltered, and uncompromising. She translates what she sees and experiences as a woman of colour in our society. In 2021 Samira will become part of the advisory committee on author readings of Literature Flanders with an artistic research project on, among other things, Arab feminism in storytelling within North Africa and the diaspora. She has previously taught Spoken Word at LUCA School of Arts (BE) and as an artist has performed in Birmingham (UK), Belgrade (RS), London (UK), and Cairo (EG) for various projects such as the Tashweesh Festival, Brussels (BE); Shubbak Festival (UK), and Apples and Snakes’ Hit The Ode (UK). As a coordinator, she is also active at Mama's Open Mic, a spoken word platform in Belgium.
Who’s Afraid of Ideology (parts I and II) will be projected as part of the installation at La Loge from March 25th—March 27th.
Photos: Film Stills, Who's Afraid of Ideology, Part 1 & 2, Marwa Arsanios, 2017-2019, Courtesy of the artist and mor charpentier, Paris.
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