Am I Wanted Here? By Whom?, 2019 - 2021
In the framework of Caravan Tighmert, a cultural laboratory in the oasis of Tighmert, Morocco
Am I Wanted Here? By Whom? is the result of experimental fieldwork in situ. Tighmert is an oasis in South-West Morocco where they create patchworks from old melfa, large batik fabrics imported from Mauritanië that women wear. The patchworks were one of the last products the caravans brought to Morocco and are made into the form of tents or shelters to protect from the sun. During a wedding for example, two families join to create a Khayma, a tent, in the courtyard.
" Despite the limited time, Van Dyck and Anzid Kollárová aimed at subverting the classical understanding of the visible and known terrain of the oasis of Tighmert which is traditionally occupied by men. Moreover, they questioned the often omitted ethical approach of artistic collaborations in a post-colonial context. Van Dyck and Anzid Kollárová penetrated private households dominated by women to primarily establish relationships and shape understandings. By knocking on doors in the oasis and asking (using a recording in Darija) for a piece of old melfa and to stitch together, they connected to the women of the oasis and their tradition. After a week of collecting and collectively stitching, they used this khayma as a backdrop for a marhouf. A marhouf is a meeting where women come together to eat and celebrate, which was organised for this occasion by Soukaina Dabbah and Rachida Dabbah, two women of the village.
" The final presentation represents selected reminiscences fabricated into hand-sewn quilts, an embroidered map of the oasis of Tighmert and a sound recording of the maarouf, a celebratory gathering of women organized around the project. Despite the very fact that the final material output came into being — Am I Wanted Here? By Whom? (originally Khayma) was not meant to be showcased out of its very context. As the artist notes: 'Am I Wanted Here? By Whom? served the specific experience of bringing together the women of the oasis, and a gathering took place by following their lead, and such isn't transmittable. If I would consider to showcase it out of the very field, it is to be collectively discussed.' Nevertheless, the artist invites the public to rethink and reimagine the territory under the attempts of ethical cultural appropriation by hand quilting and visually rearranging fragments of the field."
- Alexandra Anzid Kollárová
Read 'On Representation, Cultural Appropriation and the Ethics of Artistic Collaborations in the Postcolonial Context of Morocco' written by Alexandra Anzid Kollárová, published in The Journal of Culture vol. 9 / No 1 / 2020 Institute of Ethnology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University.
P 43-45: The Khayma Project
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" Mapping the Cartographic: Contemporary Approaches to Planetarization ", curated by Collective Rewilding, Drugo More, Rijeka