Unbeknownst to the memory

I put henna in my tea then I mixed. By adding other ingredients to it, I will get shine and long-lasting. For my lines and strokes, I chose the longest and thinnest brush, soaked it in henna and started my line forgetting that my sheet was paper.

The lines stretch, lengthen and then curl. They bend and bloom, mate and produce patterns on forms. Forms taken from others, decoupled then moved, constituted and reconstituted then composed in a labyrinthine construction like Moroccan architecture.

Floral or geometric patterns, carrying a sweet smell and a reddish color that spread, settle and then become impregnated by the effect of henna. A green plant, queen of all flowers and brings good luck which is said to come from paradise. An ornament, an adornment of embellishment for the woman. A material that is rooted in the humus of my culture.

A childhood memory, a superstition, a belief…

Pretty drawings on the hands and feet of a bride made of henna, produce an effect. By caressing the movement of her hand, the henna traces the Alliance of the bride in a soft and lasting prediction where passion and compassion are revealed by tenderness and affection. By inserting two eggs into the henna paste, the fertility of the future wife would be ensured, the egg being a symbol of fertility. An all-white sugar loaf evokes purity and virginity.

A gesture, a trace that is rooted in the tradition of an oriental space. A small detail that takes place in the cabinet of memories.

What do we know of what has always dwelt in the tottering heart of memory?

What remains of my constantly concealed orientality? The trace ? Memory ?

The emotion?

Emotion, according to Soulage, is what everyone carries within them, and that art awakens at times. It is through emotion that everything begins, is illustrated and built.

Is it also through emotion that everything begins again? Or is it by memory?

Henna, reproduced and reworked, changes and takes on symbols and memories and becomes a decisive element in the deployment of the work.

Henna would be a hyphen with tradition, a connecting thread marking communication, a line that binds and unbinds, which advances while keeping distances, 2 “…a single line, which wishes to remain so, to keep his distance, who does not submit…”

Henna represents the recreation of a cultural value orchestrated in a play of lines and signs. Material signs but also presence. Presence of an absence. It evokes the sensuality of the Moroccan woman who renews herself through emotion. A memory that creeps into the meanders of the past and reappears from the hinterland of my thoughts.

Rajaa Benjelloun