Diary of Eve’s land – Trailer
1:44 HD
Production 2023-2024  WIP

Grant supported by Allotment Travel Award
Special thanks to Saudi Ethnographic Diary

Diary of Eve’s Land is a video installation project encompassing 5 short films. It tells the stories of 5 Saudi women, and their daily struggles to balance the expectations of conservative society with their own personal aspirations. They are a divorced psychologist, a pediatrician, a nursing student, a manager of a startup IT company and an immigrant girl who can not go out without her father’s permission. Even though there are restrictions in all of their environments, each character describes how she thinks about her life and profession. Jeddah, the second biggest city of the country, which I visited in fall 2023, is undergoing rapid development, with new contemporary buildings appearing day by day under the stream of the government project “Saudi Vision 2030”. This stream has been improving the position of women in society and has been changing radically over the past years. Encountering them brought me continuous surprise, and I discovered unknown aspects of this country which are still hidden from our European and Asian perspective. I stayed there for 3 weeks between November and December 2023. This project has been selected by the Allotment Travel Award by a Japanese foundation in 2023

It was Sally who first told me about the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. I remember her telling me: 
– It comes from جدة, Jaddah, the Arabic word for “grandmother” and also this name would come from the fact that Eve, considered the grandmother of Humanity, would be buried in Jeddah

I met Sally in the spring of 2022, during her artist residency in Paris. Sally is a painter as well as an architect, and works for a Saudi agency on an equal footing with her male colleagues. Sally then introduced me to her friends and one of her sisters. Zeina, Asmaa, Rouaa were graphic designers, psychiatrists, … Their presence and vision of life shifted my preconceived ideas of this country. I also saw similarities with Japan, where I come from. What all these women had in common was that they came from Jeddah. 

The starting point for my artistic work is events and encounters of my personal life, my intimate life even. A conversation with Sally about marital pressures in Saudi Arabia reminds her of the similarities with Japan, particularly in terms of framed expectations about our roles and futures. 

Sally once told me that her sister didn’t want to return to Saudi Arabia. She had just obtained a PhD in psychiatry in the United States, and had a beautiful career ahead of her back home, but she felt she was too old to have any hope of finding a husband. It was a question I had also asked myself in 2013, the year I graduated from the École Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Montpellier. I replied: 

– In Japan, it’s the same thing, at 33 you’re an old maid! The best I can hope for over there is an old man or an idiot. And he would have asked me every day why I was still studying!