Zaghareet By Sara Niroobakhsh
The Varley Art Gallery Of Markham, May 2019
Sara invited me to contribute my gesture to her Multi-Channel Installation “Zaghareet”. Both Sara's Exhibition "Zaghareet" and my Exhibition "Choreographed Marks" were part of the summer exhibitions program at Varley Art Gallery of Markham this past summer. This interactive, multi-channel video installation, presents looping and overlapping videos of women performing the Zaghareet. The work is part of Niroobakhsh’s ongoing exploration of femininity through Middle Eastern cultural practices. Growing up as a child of Morrocan immigrants, this sonic gesture was performed in any joyful ceremony I attended. It was performed by my mother, and by the women in my community. I heard the Zaghareete at every wedding I went to, and various other celebrations. The sonic qualities of "Zaghareet" reinforce the idea that is 'calling unto' something or someone. Although The ritualistic and mythological associations have been lost, the sound, the performance, and its social configuration secured its continuity till the present. The technical features of Zaghareet (projection of a high pitched sound and a continuous fragmentation by the oscillation of the tongue from side to side or up and down) does not resemble speech nor in itself contain any particular Arabic phonemes. It has no linguistic content nor correlation with any specific linguistic codes. Most women who know how to trill learn it by mimicking other women in their family and community. It is not even a taught practice; it's internalized via exposure and embodiment.