Let us remember. By day, Penelope weaves the cloth destined to serve as her father-in-law’s shroud. By night, she unravels it to stave off suitors wanting to replace her husband who has not yet returned home. Without a maid’s betrayal, no man or woman would have discovered the ruse. Weaving is a woman’s domain, representing the mystery of the feminine. Many taboos surround weaving. One of the strongest forbids a man to walk behind the loom, which, facing the door open onto the light of day, connects heaven and earth and allows women to trace and retrace this connection, to fashion it into a wall.
Just a few decades ago in the Maghreb, any woman worthy of the name - as they say- would weave a piece of clothing for her husband. He would wear it publicly to demonstrate the skill of she who was locked up at home. Cloth that is woven, cloth fashioned into a wall, cloth destined as shroud. A woman walks outside. White or black flowered cloth tightly wound around her body or else loosely draped, hanging in a multitude of folds. And then renewed cloth, simultaneously modern –as it frees movement- and lawful because it complies with the law. The cloth of tradition has transformed itself into the cloth of law
Zineb Labidi, 22 décembre 2012 - traduction : Valérie Behiery
Born in Constantine (Algeria ) Samta Benyahia graduated from the School of Decorative arts of Paris, the university of Paris VIII Vincennes-St-Denis and the School of Fine Arts of Algiers where she also taught. Samta Benyahia has exhibited among others at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles in 2007, at the French Institute of Oran-Mahrem Santralistanbul (Turkey)and more recently at Art Sawa DubaÏ in 2011. She has participated in various international events such as the 50th Venice Biennal and the Bamako Biennal in 2003, La Force de l’Art in 2006 ( Paris, Grand Palais) and in the Nuit Blanche (Paris) in 2012