Museums and intitutions alike appearing to be awaking to the growing importance of female voices on their walls and in their spaces. This is refreshing to witness considering that musuems have been traditionally a patriachal environement, featuring a slew of validly talented 'blue-chip stock' modern contemporary luminaries. On the 9th of April 2019, the Victoria and Albert Museum tipped the scales and officially purchased a intricate feminine rendition of the heart - 'Histoires de Tripes Volumes 005' by Sahli, one of our burgeoining talents based in the African continent at the Sulger-Buel Gallery.
Ghizlane Sahli was born 1973 in Meknes, Morocco and today lives and works in Marrakech. In Paris, she studied architecture but returned to her native country after this time to open a workshop staffed by local artisans and produced innovative textiles and design work. In less than a decade she became renowned for her award-winning tissue creations. It was in 2012, following the production of a dress made from waste (rubbish bags, jerry cans, plastic bottles, etc.) for a feature in a local magazine that she decided to close her embroidery workshop and concentrate on the making of pure artistic creations.
Along with her sister and two photographers, she formed the Zbel Manifesto Collective, working in the transformation and sublimation of waste products. The collective appeared at the Marrakesh Biennale in 2014, presenting an installation, Pimp My Garbage. They were thereafter invited to participate in the inaugural exposition of the Mohamed VI Museum in Rabat.
In "Histoires de Tripes" (“Tripe Stories”), the solo exhibition within which the acquired piece was shown, Sahli invites us to an inner and organic journey, on a universal theme, and allows us to transcend what would normally exclude humans from seeing “Universatility”, and its sophisticated and complex mechanism. A universality that the artist cultivates on several levels: first of all, by the choice of her materials –plastic bottles, the wire mesh which supports them or the silk which covers them, could come from any part of the globe. But also, by that of the message: Ghizlane Sahli does not claim or condemn anything, for her, belonging is a fragmented prison, and identity, a notion far too complex to confine or freeze without risking alienation. To this, she consciously substitutes the exploration of what is most fundamental and common to man, his primitive origin, cleansed of all the stigmas that make it a distinction or belonging, whether cultural social, religious, geographical, racial or gender.
Today Sahli diligently continues her work with the help of local artisan women. Through her acts of recycling, re-energising and re-use, she draws attention to critical environmental issues while also evoking beauty that potentially lies underneath and embedded within the seemingly everyday.
March 3, 2020