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Monuments & Flowers

Curated by Regine Basha

Monuments & Flowers brings together a selection of seminal video work by women artists culled from the archives of ArteEast with the work of contemporary voices including Yto Barrada, Lara Baladi, Marianne Fahmy, Malak Helmy Maha Maamoun and Setareh Shahbazi with Mirene Arsanios.

How do we reflect upon the ebb and flow of destruction and construction, death and regeneration – of cities, of ideologies, of nations and particularly of quotidian life and ecosystems? As these overwhelming tragedies accelerate in real time in different parts of the world, the act of memorializing is overpowered by a continual state of grieving. How do artists and filmmakers create works of memorialization through this lens of grieving? Oftentimes it is through invoking both past and future perspectives into alternate visions of reality that speak to hidden truths. Monument & Flowers reflected on these strategies in its original iteration in 2019, and will now be re-mounted in Europe at this time with an all women line-up and the addition of Spanish subtitles, courtesy of ArteEast and Casa Arabe. 


Monuments & Flowers features films by six visionary women artists from the region termed ´the Middle East´ where a colonialists´ footprint of destruction, displacement and reconstruction have long become part of artists´ psychic imagination and generative narratives. The film and video works selected here internalize this state of constant flux, employing both fictional and diaristic narratives while collapsing the hyper-real with the surreal. Scenes from daily life may become infused with a subconscious overlay of desire, fear, alienation or utopian longings that resemble a hallucination of the past and future colliding. Through highly evocative mixed use of time-based media; ranging from found super 8mm, to stained celluloid, to CGI, many of the works lean towards a retro-futurist lens that is highly attentive to the minutiae and habits of locale, yet slippery in its chronology.


Regine Basha is a curator, educator and cultural producer working between Madrid and New York. Her curatorial work and story-telling archive, Tuning Baghdad, can be found on bashaprojects.com. She is based between Brooklyn and Madrid.

Monuments and Flowers is co-presented by ArteEast and Casa Árabe. This series is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents over 17 years of film and video programming by ArteEast. In addition to in-person, theatrical screenings at Casa Árabe Cordoba (April 27th, 7pm) and at Casa Árabe Madrid (April 28, 7:30pm), the series will be presented on artearchive.org from April 29 - May 7, 2022. For more info on the in person program go to casaarabe.es

Check out the Artist Spotlights with Lara Baladi, Setareh Shahbazi , Marianne Fahmy, and Malak Helmy



"Hand-Me-Downs“ are pieces of clothing passed on from one generation to the next as explained by the narrator in Yto Barrada’s (born in 1971, FR) 14-minutes long eponymic video. Like the clothing, Hand-Me-Downs passes on found film footage; blurry vintage amateur images from private family albums accompanied by (French) film music from 1927–1931 evoking a similar sense of nostalgia. As is implied by the unreliability of the narrator, not all is what it seems—images do not correspond with what is said and vice versa—and what is said becomes too incredible to be true. The 15 “handed-down” stories reconstruct biographical identity and fractures in a time of Morocco’s transition from colonialism to postcolonialism.

About the Filmmaker

Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris) is a Moroccan- French artist recognized for her multidisciplinary investigations of cultural phenomena and historical narratives. Engaging with the performativity of archival practices and public interventions, Barrada’s installations reinterpret social relationships, uncover subaltern histories, and reveal the prevalence of fiction in institutionalized narratives.

In 2006, Barrada founded the Cinémathèque de Tanger, the first art house theater to celebrate local and international cinema in Tangier.

Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, MoMA, The Met, the Renaissance Society, the Walker Art Center, Whitechapel Gallery, and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennales. Upcoming shows include the 2022 Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2022. Barrada has received multiple awards, including the Roy R. Neuberger Prize (2019); the Tiger Award for Best Short Film at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2016); the Abraaj Group Art Prize, UAE (2015); Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (2013); and Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year (2011).

  • Year
  • Runtime
    14 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Yto Barrada
  • Filmmaker
    Yto Barrada
  • Editor
    Dominique Auvray