I Saved My Belly Dancer, 2015


Master USB

12 min.

The video I Saved My Belly Dancer, 2015 features actors Salma Hayek, playing a belly dancer, and Tahar Rahim in a unique, epic love story that takes them from Egypt's shores to America's Wild West. The slow pace of the cinematographic shots and the hallucinatory pastel-toned mood - the result of colouring the image by hand - give this modern tale a dreamlike dimension. 

In this video, Egyptian photographer and video maker Youssef Nabil saves the idea of the belly dancer of his childhood. After the revolutionary events of 2011 in Egypt, belly dancing, which had been esteemed in the past, has been increasingly constrained and even banned because it is deemed immoral by the new regime. Refusing to accept its disappearance, the artist brilliantly immortalises this age-old tradition. 

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, I Saved My Belly Dancer, 2015 is being presented for the first time during Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.