ParisLamia Naji: Primary Colours
In the second part of the season dedicated to Hassan Hajjaj, MEP presents two projects by French-Moroccan artist Lamia Naji, whose double culture has led her to explore in her work the themes of identity, intimacy, universality and spirituality – here in gritty, intensely emotional black-and-white sequences of darkness, intoxication, exhilaration.
The video I Love Cats I Really Do is a declaration of love to the inhabitants of Madrid, Madrileños, whose nickname los gatos (the Spanish word for cats) highlights their love for the city’s indulgent nocturnal lifestyle. Her haunting video slideshow captures frenzied moments of ecstasy set to the pulsating beat of techno music. Presented contrapuntally, Primary colours, filmed in Essaouira, Morocco, also evokes moments of letting go and abandonment as it follows the lilas – all-night rituals of the Gnawa, an ethnic group partly known for their deeply hypnotic music. Descended from black slaves, the Gnawa, despite having adopted Islam over the years, still practice African possession rituals. Not un- like Hassan Hajjaj, Naji here fuses the traditional and contemporary by putting her images of these ancient trance ceremonies to electronic music.
Lamia Naji lives and works in Casablanca. She has been awarded several artists’ residencies in cities including Rotterdam, Paris and Madrid, and has exhibited her work in such international institutions as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt and the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washing- ton, DC.
Sans Titre, De la série « Couleurs Primaires », Essaouira, 2003 © Lamia Naji