Photos rule



I AM Silkhouse

First performed: 1999

     Solo work by Mary Salem with live voice collaborations and
     interpretations by Marianella Giambanco

Consultant Director: Rainsford
Original sound recordings: Rainsford

Premier: International Festival of Women’s Performance - Magdalena : Wellington N.Z.

The ‘Silkhouse’ in ancient Persia was a place where women would come together to make silk. Men would peek through the windows of these Silkhouses to watch the women.  In time, Silkhouses came to be called by the Persians, ‘Kerhane’, a term used even today in rural Lebanon and Turkey meaning brothel.

Mary Salem: program notes:

This is an intimate work embracing in part my personal experiences as an artist travelling the Middle East, and returning to the blood soil of my family village. There I found judgements placed upon my liberated sexuality, I was seen as someone with a liberated form of self expression, a woman of differences.  I was admired, even revered by some women, shunned by others.
And yet for me, in contrast, I saw in the village women a beauty and way of self expression with an immense richness and strength in the rituals and simplicity of their daily lives, and a fortitude in dealing with their struggles, some though decades of war.

I have constantly reflected on this, growing, learning, talking of this rich cultural diversity. Family- is very important, and I have sourced some of the influence for the work from my Father’s distant voice, (he died when I was young) and my grandmother’s beautifully aged hands. As well as Expressionist - Kathe Kollwitz whose drawings and etchings also form part of the seed for this work.

Whilst the process for this work evolves from the internal landscape of my world, Rainsford’s great vision and subtlety in bringing out the truth at the heart of the work, training me on the focus of breath and the true intent of movement, body and gesture has brought me to this point, my first solo work.

Marianella elevates my work with her sensitive and beautiful vocal interpretations.

Finally, I AM Silkhouse is a work on an ever expanding level, the freedom of the body within a landscape of cultural sensitivity on a background of war.