Instead of Saying I Wish

Nahed Mansour

2009, 03:25 minutes, colour, Arabic with English Subtitles

TAPECODE 1056.03

Instead of Saying I Wish consists of edited footage of home movies originally shot on Super 8mm film. Filmed in 1987, the footage documents a variety show at a Greek holiday resort in which audience members are asked to dress, dance, and ‘act’ Hawaiian.

The focus of the work is on the artist (age 4) and her family, as they watch others appropriate a foreign culture with all its stereotypes. As the only non-white people at the variety show, issues of race and appropriation implicit in the work are further complicated.

The soundtrack for the piece is a fragment of ‘My Own Home,’ a version of the song from Disney’s
The Jungle Book (1967) that was dubbed into Arabic. The song evokes themes of the gaze, gender roles, and personal aspirations. Instead of Saying I Wish asks viewers to recall their own childhood and specifically question their closeness to various forms of cultural appropriation disguised as entertainment.

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