In brown, longtime thresholds and substrates without catalogues
sound piece, walnut wood carved mimbars, 2 suspended speakers, 2 spotlights, 2014

The work is a sound piece that I recorded with my voice singing in various dialects and languages repeatedly parts of the very famous Egyptian song "Enta Omri" by Um Kaltoum. I deconstruct it, re-think its aura and transpose it into the present of the immigrating Arabic language(s), the Berber language and a selection of Arabic dialects where we hear for instance Dutch and French intruding intermittently the sentences.

I replaced an existing ancient mimbar at Dar Si Said in Marrakesh by two mimbars facing each other, as if absurdly reading or singing for one another. Their sizes are exactly half as big as the original ancient mimbar that is usually on display at Dar Si Said (currently housing the Museum of Moroccan Arts), in the room where my work was shown during the Biennial. An artisan from Marrakesh has worked on constructing the new mimbars from walnut wood.

These mimbars become the stage where the song is resonating, thus inter-mixing critically religion and love, as well as religion singing and current Arabic dialects. 

I consider this work as an abstraction of an ongoing research on language. As for the audio, it is still ongoing in a separate work titled “Enta Omri”.


This work was commissioned by the Marrakesh Biennial V in 2014, curated by Hicham Khaldi

Thanks to Hicham Khaldi, Alya Sebti, Samya Abid and to the Marrakesh Biennial team