The role of culture in sustaining narratives that are based in concepts of equality, hospitality, solidarity and understanding, is now more urgent than ever. For this reason, State of Concept has decided to inaugurate a new program chapter entitled “Xen(i)os” addressing the problematics between the binary of guest-host, in a world that is becoming all the more xenophobic. It will further address the histories of hospitality, care and hosting, in relationship to the multicultural policies that have defined the modern West. The title derives from the concept of “Xenios Zeus” the hospitable god Zeus, but also from the concept of “xenos” (l’etranger, the stranger). We will be looking at otherness from a feminist intersectional perspective, stemming from both the local and the global.
As Greece is defined as part of the “Global South” we will be tracing "South to South" synergies that look into feminist forms of practice of hospitality, solidarity and care. One of the iterations of this trajectory is a new screening program entitled Arab Feminist Films, curated and organised by Doreen Toutikian.
Since 2011 with the dawn of Arab uprisings, many artists and documentary filmmakers took the opportunity to tell the world about the social and political struggles that peoples of the Arab region have been enduring, through the lens of feminist artists and directors. The Arab Feminist Films program is a tribute to an anthology of work produced by women from Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia,Saudi Arabia and Libya who have uncovered various aspects -often taboo ones in the local context- that have dominated the lives of Arab women and societies at large.
The program is comprised of a series of documentaries and contemporary art works in the form of film, that fall under four different categories: Resistance, Empowerment, Gender-Based Violence, and Echoes of War.
As forms of Resistance, Feriel Ben Mahmoud’s ‘Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab feminism’ describes an overview of political movements in the region that have vastly changed the rights of women over the past 5 decades. Lebanese artist Marwa Arsanios brings forth her exploration of an Algerian freedom fighter, Jamila Bouhired in Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 film, The Battle of Algiers. Amal Ramsis’ ‘The Trace of the Butterfly’ follows the story of female protesters in Tahrir Square during the uprisings; while ‘Forbidden’ delivers a brutal reality on Egyptian state control defining everything that people are forbidden to do by law, ranging from the participation of women in the community to holding hands with loved ones in public. Special mention goes to Suha Arraf’s daring documentary film ‘Women of Hamas’, which for the first time shows the private lives and struggles of wives and mothers of Hamas martyrs.
Within the Empowerment sessions, Amber Fares tracks down the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East who ride alongside their male competitors in the streets of Palestine. Yasmine Fedda’s ‘Queens of Syria’ follows the journey of sixty women from Syria, all forced into exile in Jordan, who came together to create and perform their own version of the Trojan Women, the Ancient Greek tragedy.
In the Gender-Based Violence series, Abeer Zeibak Haddad bears witness to honor killings in Palestine with her film ‘Women of Freedom’.
In the category Echoes of War, Mary Jirmanus Saba presents her new film ‘A Feeling Greater than Love’ that reopens the wounds of the Lebanese civil war and documents an urgent reflection on how to avoid the errors of the past.
Newcomer Saudi Arabian Tyma Hezam makes a debut with her film ‘Here You Are’, an experimental video-poem that blends landscape, text and music to shed light on mental health issues of the post-traumatic stress experienced by refugees upon their arrival to their destination. Palestinian visual artist Basma Al Sharif takes us on an homage to the Gaza Strip and to the possibility of hope based on the eternal return by following a man through five different landscapes as representation of trauma in her film Ourobouros.
The Arab Feminist Films program is a collaboration between LOOP and State of Concept that hopes to become a staple event in the cultural scene of Athens.
Monday 7 October (Resistance)
6pm Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab Feminism (2014/ 54 min)
Director: Feriel Ben Mahmoud, Tunisia
7pm Becoming Jamila/ Have you Ever Killed a Bear (2013, 25 min)
Director: Marwa Arsanios, Lebanon
8pm Women of Hamas (2010, 56 min) Director: Suha Arraf, Palestine
Tuesday 8 October (Resistance)
6pm Souha, Surviving Hell (2001, 56 min) Director: Randa Chahal Sabbag, Lebanon
7pm The Trace of the Butterfly (2011, 68 min) Director: Amal Ramsis, Egypt
Monday 14 October (Echoes of War)
6pm Here You Are (2017/ 5 min) Director: Tyma Hezam, Syria/ Saudi Arabia
6:15pm Ouroboros (2017, 77 min) Director: Basma Alsharif, Palestine/ Kuwait
7:45pm A Feeling Greater Than Love (2010, 94 min) Director: Mary Jirmanus Saba, Lebanon
Tuesday 15 October (Gender Based Violence)
6pm Women of Freedom (2017/ 58 min) Director: Abeer Zeibak Haddad, Palestine
Monday 21 October (Empowerment)
6pm Queens of Syria (2014/ 70 min) Director: Yasmin Fedda, Palestine/ UK
7:30pm Speed Sisters (2015/ 80 min) Director: Amber Fares, Palestine/ Canada