Meriem Bennani: Siham & Hafida
Historically, chikha performers in Morocco have provided entertainment for important celebrations and, as significant, spread lyrics of resistance during the era of French colonization. Yet tensions have arisen as performers negotiate a globalized society propelled by personal technology. Extending Meriem Bennani’s ecstatic depictions of female roles ascribed by culture, her new video offers an intimate view into the lives of Siham and Hafida, two women whose intergenerational conflicts regarding the chikha tradition reflect greater shifts in Moroccan culture of the past 50 years. Moreover, their oppositional approaches point to uncanny parallels between the new presence of chikha performance on social media and the oral traditions of Aita, the musical genre of the chikha and its dances. Bennani captures the performance of femininity celebrated by social and religious mores, as well as the less constrained moments in which this performance can recede. Curated by Lumi Tan.