‘The weight of my neighbors’ began in march 2017, as a study on the marginality and migration of Moroccan women and on the possibility of poetry and singing as narrative tools.
This artistic project has investigated the female activity of the Moroccan migrant and marginalized community of the Born neighbourhood in Barcelona and the female cartes of the spanish border with Melilla, and of the possibility of singing and poetry as strategic tools.
The research is based on the collective ability of Moroccan women to compose and sing biographical verses and inquires about the relations of closeness, proximity, distance and encounter that occur between women.
The narratives about the border lives of our neighbors were woven through daily activities such as cooking, singing and gossiping and were interpreted with songs, drawings and recipes poems.
the results of the project were a solo exhibition during june and july at the gallery space of Piramidón art center, a publication financed by LaCapella and a oral performance ‘The voices of trabando’ presented as final tesis of the Independent Study Program (PEI) at the MACBA (museum of contemporary art in Barcelona). Also various performatic events, such as a cooking workshop at Fundación Comtal, a singing intervention at Idensidades /Espei E and a performance at 365 ehibition in Viena.
The investigation of this project is made possible especially by a grant from Barcelona Producció 2017/2018 by La Capella and the PEI study program. It was also supported vitally by Pau Cata and the artistic residency CeRRCa, Jiwar, creació i societat, the artist residency in Marrakech Le18, Institut Ramón Llull and Nau Côclea in Camallera.
The opening of the exhibition of drawings and a wallpainting and the official presentation of the publication.
The presentation of the project in form of a cooking workshop at Fundación Comtal.
The performance at 365, curated by Dr. Lena Freimüller in Viena.
Portrait of Luiza
In October the border was closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the atipical traffic. Since I left, it is only open two days a week. Nadias, Hafedas and Luizas despair is overcome by cooking, singing and talking about not much.
This is how a Moroccan wedding looks from the backside. The garage is the kitchen and the kitchen where men will eat as invisible as possible. Stti and Fatima are between 60 and 80, neither of them knows her exact age, and manage the 28 shared plates going out for the guests. Fatima is the groom’s grandmother and Stti the neighbor. It’s a all women run heavy work which needs a lot of collaboration from neighbor to neighbor.
Nadia, contrabandista, she doesn’t like the word ‘porteadora’, gets up at 2h30 in the morning to wait sometimes 5 hours in the cue at the Melilla border until the door opens. When she comes back for lunch with a big smile on her face for her three small children and also for me, she has already spent about 14 hours awake.
The day I waited outside of the door of the barrio chino for Nadia to come out, I spend one morning together with Syrian refugees who waited anxiously for the gate to open and maybe take a chance to blend in with all the people, who once orderly in a cue, stream out like overfloating water, rolling or carrying their huge **bultos ** as fast as possible. I wouldn’t imagine at that point that I would see them all again the last day I decided to spend in a hotel instead of staying at Luiza’s. Here is Samira having a break from her multiple brothers, sisters and cousins and their fathers waiting here in Nador to follow their mothers who managed to slip through the Moroccan guards mostly disguised as Porteadoras. Morocco won’t let them pass to seek help at the CETI, the governmental center for war refugees.
Both of the travels were made by boat, minimum 25 timeless hours floating slowly and solemnly through a worldly waters, whose only frontiers were different telephone companies. The visit ended with the same women sharing the cabin with me who during my stay in Nador also shared her life with me.
As I said in the beginning, this is a multiple formated narrative with many things to talk and think about. I am working on the posibility to produce a audiovisual format. If you want contribute in whatever way, let me know.
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The Weight of my Neighbours is a project about the marginality and migration of my moroccan neighbours in Barcelona and at the Melilla border through poetry and song.
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