Embroidery brings to mind time, patience – self-sacrifice, even, and precision. It is laborious work and tiresome in the long run. The result is often as valuable as it is delicate. The materials involved are high-quality and fragile and to use them requires a lot of dexterity and care. This is why this technique occurred to me as the most appropriate medium for talking about our political history.
In this video installation, I asked Saadya to embroide in arabic the four values we’ve never stopped to fight for : Freedom, Dignity, Employment and Justice. Once all the parts were finished, I asked the embroiderer to undo everything she had embroidered. She got somewhat angry at my request, and pointed out that she had devoted many hours and put all her heart into it. 'It would break my heart.' she said. This is actually what one feels when seeing the values that entire generations sacrificed themselves for being trodden underfoot ; undone. But this is also how history makes itself, by being written and erased.
"Saadya" offers a symbolic reading of our political history. It expresses the repetition but also the renewal of the engagement over time. It's precisely in reference to this that the act of making and unmaking embroidery on a sound background of protests and political speeches, takes on all its meaning in this video.