To name what is not named,
to show what is not shown, to bind what is remote.
My work rests on this concept and operating mode
that proceeds by transgressing what remains forbidden and undisclosed.
The self-imposed starting point of Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s work is to see the world in a different way. In her Silence installation, the artist presents prayer mats whose circular shape cuts draw an ‘opening’ on the ground on which rest gilded court shoes. The Islamic religion forces people to remove their shoes before taking place on the carpet that delimits the space for prayer. However, Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s installation plays with limits in order to bring us to the edge of the sacred and the profane. Muslim women stand at the threshold of these two worlds – a threshold, which according to Mircea Eliade, also determines the distance between two modes of being.
Through a rather subversive work, the artist intends to lift the veil on a woman’s relation to Islam. Between respect of the religious tradition and fantasies of westernisation, she reveals her ability to invent for herself freedom spaces within a rigid framework. In this instance, Zoulikha Bouabdellah pays a tribute to the women who are not afraid to assert themselves in order to exist, beyond the silence surrounding the prayer or the question of the female condition in the Arab world. From the prayer mat to the Thousand and One Nights carpets, her body of work thus becomes, as stated by the artist herself, “the throne of light and dream”.
Translated by Valérie Vivancos