When Zineb Belrhiti was growing up, she tells Arab News, “I was much more into Western culture: I watched a lot of American movies and I listened to American and British music. I didn’t want to listen to the big Arabic artists my parents were listening to.
”The Moroccan-born artist’s experience is typical of her peers growing up in the cultural jumble of Dubai. “I only lived in Morocco until I was three. I grew up in the UAE.
I went to a French school, so I was surrounded by people from different nationalities — and in general the UAE is very multicultural,” she says. But as she entered her late teens, Belrhiti began to feel somewhat unrooted — another experience that many in the UAE will be able to relate to. “I realized that I felt pretty far from my own culture,” she says.
“I didn’t really feel Moroccan, but I’m not French either. I speak French and I’ve grown up with French culture, but I can’t say I’m French, because I’m not. At the same time, I can’t say I’m from the UAE because, even though I’ve spent my life here, I don’t have a UAE passport.
“I don’t think it’s only me, I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to,” she continues. “And this disconnect from every culture made me want to get closer to my Moroccan roots and to Arab culture in general.”
Comments are closed.