Visual arts

2 min

Ayni/Habibi, by Frédérique Chauveaux and Jana Saleh - a project born at Villa Al Qamar

With their installation Ayni/Habibi, video artist Frédérique Chauveaux and DJ Jana Saleh offer a sensitive reflection on women's relationship with the institution of marriage in Lebanon. 

© DR

A new partnership

Ayni/Habibi is the result of a collaboration between the French choreographer and artist Frédérique Chauveaux and the Lebanese DJ and musician Jana Saleh. Long-time director and choreographer of the company Le pont des arts, Frédérique Chauveaux has created numerous works which have been presented at the Palais de Chaillot, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Opéra national de Paris. Having previously worked as a contemporary dance teacher, she now devotes herself to video. To create Ayni/Habibi, she joined forces with Jana Saleh, music producer, artist and active member of the Beirut DJ scene, frequently a guest on prestigious international radio stations such as NTS Radio. 


Closer to the women of Lebanon

Produced during a residency at Villa Al Qamar, in the heart of the Lebanese Chouf, Ayni/Habibi is a choreographic and audiovisual installation that bears witness to the realities of marriage in Lebanon. It is the result of a long investigation with women from the region, where the two artists investigated the multiple tensions that run through this institution, between love, traditional constraints and religious obligations. Beyond the ceremony itself, it is a work that deals with the way in which marriage regulates the lives of women on a daily basis. 


An investigation into marriage

To produce Ayni/Habibi, Frédérique Chauveaux and Jana Saleh interviewed numerous Lebanese women of all ages and faiths about their relationship to the institution of marriage. "This is an opportunity," according to the musician Jana Saleh, "to give a voice to women who need to express themselves and find their place within traditions and an institution that disadvantages them." But also to meet the multiple communities that make the Lebanese Chouf a real patchwork of traditions. 


A play destined to travel

The first performance of Ayni/Habibi took place during the Fête de la Musique in a symbolic place: the Synagogue of Deir Al Qamar, closely linked to a community that no longer lives in Lebanon. An international tour begins that should see this play, rooted in the realities of Lebanese society but whose subject remains universal, meet an ever-growing audience. But also the opportunity to discover the fruits of an unprecedented collaboration that was made possible by the Villa Al Qamar, an institution at the crossroads of the different communities living in the Chouf valley. 

The Institut français

The Villa Al Qamar is a multidisciplinary artistic residency programme run by the Institut français in Lebanon and supported by the Institut français’ "La Fabrique des résidences" programme. It aims to strengthen cultural exchanges between France and Lebanon.