Jihan El-Tahri lives and works in Berlin, DE
Jihan El-Tahri is a filmmaker and visual artist. Her practice deals with materiality and the moving image. Working primarily with installation art, she often engages with the interstices between official history and memory in an attempt to reinterpret the moments of our history of which no traces have been left behind and to propose a new reading and alternative voice from a Global South perspective.
In Complexifying Restitution (2022), El-Tahri invites the viewer into the spacetime of a project that brings together archive researchers, artists, and filmmakers to interpret, rethink, and reappropriate the archive. The purpose of this engagement with the archive is not to simply delve into history and memory in order to look backward, but rather to use that past knowledge—the fragments that can be unearthed—as a tool to reinterpret our current reality and imagine an alternative future. Most importantly, the space of this project inhabits the territory of the Laval Decree: a 1934 law that prohibited Africans in the French colonies from filming themselves. The law remained in effect until the 1960s, denying colonized populations the possibility of self-representation until—or even after—independence. Accordingly, every piece of found imagery is critically probed, scrutinized, and contextualized to establish the vantage point from which it will communicate with us. This artistic engagement with images and sounds of our past helps us to devise a new grammar that revisits and rewrites history from the position of the Global South. The role of the artist’s memory in making or remaking the archive is fundamental to ensuring an uninterrupted chain of social and political memory, realized by translating the legacy of the past into the vocabulary of the present.
Joud Halawani Al-Tamimi
Here History Began. Tracing the Re/Verberations of Halim El-Dabh, 2021, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (DE)
Biennale de Lubumbashi 2019: Future Genealogies, 2019, Rencontres Picha, Biennale de Lubumbashi, Lubumbashi (CD)
Working Practices: a collaboration with Clark House Initiative, 2018, The Showroom, London (UK)
Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs, 2016, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (DE)
Nasser, 2015, MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York City (US)
Behind The Rainbow, 2009, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (DE)