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Revisionary NarrativesMoroccan Women's Auto/Biographical and Testimonial Acts$
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Naïma Hachad

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620221

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620221.001.0001

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Carolle Bénitah’s Photo-Embroidery

Carolle Bénitah’s Photo-Embroidery

Remembering, Reframing, Disfiguring, and Embellishing the Past

(p.159) Chapter Five Carolle Bénitah’s Photo-Embroidery
Revisionary Narratives

Naïma Hachad

Liverpool University Press

In ‘L’enfance marocaine’ (2009), Carolle Bénitah scans, reframes, and embroiders over black and white family photographs from her childhood in Morocco in the 1960s and 1970s. Chapter 5, analyzes Bénitah’s photo-embroideries, using theories on family photography and its ability to capture traumatic shifts that shape postmodern mentalities, as developed by Roland Barthes ([1980]1981), Marianne Hirsch (1997), Patricia Holland (1991), and Annette Kuhn ([1995] 2002). In tandem with these theorists, I draw on Sam Durrant’s analysis of the postcolonial narrative as a mode of mourning and an action partly meant to come to terms with traumatic historical events, and Mireille Rosello’s notion of ‘reparative mourning’ in her study of the reparative in postcolonial narratives. I read Bénitah’s images as a postmodern narrative that testifies to a fragmented subjectivity, situated at the intersection between public and private history and memory—the artist’s personal story against the backdrop of the twentieth-century history of Morocco and its Jewish community. The chapter analyzes spatial, temporal, visual, and cultural hybridity as a way of working through history while also engaging with transnational feminist strategies women use to undo gender hierarchies naturalized and perpetuated by photography and the family photograph.

Keywords:   Carolle Bénitah, Family photography, Embroidery, Hybridity, Memory, Trauma, Mourning, Diasporic narratives, Transnational feminism, Reparative narratives

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