I Saved My Belly Dancer | 12 minutes | Cast: Salma Hayek and Tahar Rahim
Youssef Nabil's second video, I Saved My Belly Dancer, is a poetic depiction of the artist’s fascination with belly dancers, and his anxiety over the disappearance of the art form that is unique to the Middle East. The video is visually inspired by the 50s golden age cinema of Egypt and touches upon Youssef's fraught relationship with his home country – both elements that inform a large aspect of his practice.
Loss, displacement, memory, exile and rebirth continue to be a recurring theme in Youssef’s work. The video is a self-portrait of his story and relationship with Egypt, as well as what is left of the past within memory; even if it is no longer a part of reality. The video also explores shifting perceptions of the position of women in the region, with the amplified sexualisation of their bodies a growing problem in the new social constructs. It is this, and the fear of losing an indigenous art form to time and changing ideologies, that inspired Youssef to create I Saved My Belly Dancer.
The photographic work produced from this video is done in Youssef’s characteristic technique of hand colouring black and white photographs.