Statement

I am not even a body – I am a voice. The loud voice of the bell I once placed between my legs, many lives ago, during my first performance ever, at Haifa University. The voice of a phallus controlled by the movement of my gentle woman’s limbs. In spite of what tradition dictates, I survive. My vagina is no weaker than a phallus. I am the uncomfortable, disturbing ringing that you cannot hide from or ignore. You can lock a woman in a room, you can place a citizen under arrest, you can trap a body behind bars; but sound is unstoppable, freely carried by the air. No matter how hard life was, or might become, this was the only definition I would ever accept: a voice.

Having no words to describe my pain, I had to use my body as a means of rebellion against my society. My Arab Israeli culture views ‘woman’ as virginal, gentle, trusting, emotional, kind, accepting, accommodating, compassionate, loyal, sensitive, shy, soft, understanding, devoted, dependent, caring, passive, traditional, faithful, committed and stable. In spite of or because of this cultural tendency, I dreamed of becoming something totally different: assertive, athletic, competitive, dominant, forceful, independent, unique, and strong. I wanted to take on no roles but my own; to be the author, activator, director and designer of my own life.

I chose performance as my means of challenging the patriarchy through the language of the body, by exploring gender and sexuality embedded in the female body, and the absent female sexual body that my culture has labeled as evil. I wanted and still want to inscribe my body in order to speak, using this art as a stage across which I could express my frustration and anger, and as a platform for my rebellion against the traditional conceptions of the image of ‘woman’ in the Arab world.