Randa Maroufi (Morocco)

Musée National du Mali

La Grande Safae (2014)

Between fiction and family archive, this video work follows the unique character of Safae, a transsexual whose story is recounted through the voices of women who are part of the family for which Safae works. The fiction astutely weaves together the complex issues regarding the place of women in Moroccan society : their communities, their social and familial hierarchies, and their crucial role in the home.

The use of clothes links the ensemble of the video and represents the sexual identity of the character, creating a sublime symbol of the challenges of gender and transgenderism. Indicative of an ambiguous social standing, Safae is able to thrive within the intimate and cocooning universe of the home, but is marginalized and constrained in public spaces.

Ultimately, it is by changing from female attire to male attire that the character is able to access the public space. The street demands that sexuality be clearly defined, as evidenced by the scene in the hammam where the narrative evokes the cruel dilemma faced by Safae : a woman disguised as a man who must wait until it is time for the men’s session at the public baths. The home remains the sole space of intimacy, the theatre where the character can truly blossom in the role of a woman, which becomes the stage for dance, song, and prayer, along with daily routines such as washing clothes or tidying the living room. Through its use, clothing becomes a cartography that subtly charts out society’s relationship with the body and feminine identity

Born in 1987 in Casablanca, Morocco –
Lives in Tangiers and Lille

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali