Bent Hanna is a sound piece by Jasmina Metwaly, a visual artist based in Berlin and Cairo.
The starting point of her piece is a a-cappella rendition of Tulet Ya Mahla Nourha, one of the most popular song by Egyptian composer and singer Sayed Darwish. Written at the beginning of the XX century, Tulet Ya Mahla Nourha is a song about a girl who goes to milk the cows in the morning and that on her way is stopped by the glances and admiration of a boy.
Here we have more than a beautiful singing voice.
We have a young woman negotiating a complex sense of belonging.
By singing Tulet Ya Mahla Nourha, Jasmina Metwaly constructs a feminist position against a specific, nationalistic and patriarchal culture. Sound is political by extending or restricting the limits of the body (Brandon La Belle) and that’s what Metwaly is doing here with Bent Hanna: she’s reclaiming her voice, and by exposing her weakness, through the modulation of the voice, she finds her strength. This recording implies an ongoing questioning and understanding of the self: what is my place, what can I do?
At the end of the piece, when it will be difficult to discern one voice, you might think that Jasmina is not one, she’s not a monolith and she’s not alone….
Born to a a Polish mother and an Egyptian father, Jasmina Metwaly is a Cairo-Berlin-based artist and filmmaker, and co-founder of Mosireen collective. She works in video and film, and has recently started drawing again. She likes to work with people and their histories, within different material including texts and archival material such as: scripts, drawings, lectures, manuals and images.
Rooted in performance and theatre, her works focus on process-based practices, that have a social effect through which generates tension between participants and audiences.
Taking a position of an onlooker/ storyteller, she investigates the ways in which images transgress, how the role of the person behind the camera changes with stories, and how these impact collective memory. Her works is process based scrutinizing the methodology of the making itself, how images are collected and archived and how they can take on
new meanings when de-constructed from their primal intention. She is interested in how stories create stories blurring the preconceived boundaries between documentation and fiction.