Hanane Hajji-Ali

ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE:

In ‘Jogging’, Hanane Hajj Ali is in constant dialogue with different Hananes: Hanane, the mother, Hanane the wife and Hanane, the woman.

(Excerpts from Al Ahram Weekly:)

"I am a Muslim woman who wears the veil and I am proud of my heritage," proclaims Hanane Hajj-Ali, as she adjusts the headscarf that is wrapped around, not over, her head.

Actress, writer and educator Hanane Hajj-Ali was born in Baabda, Lebanon. In 1994, after a spectacular performance of Mudhakarat Ayyub, (Job's Memoirs) -- a play directed by her husband Roger Assaf -- in Paris, she was described by the French media as an impossible amalgam of the Virgin Mary and Marilyn Monroe.

The fresh-faced Hanane, however, remains a child at heart. She is like a little girl let loose in the wardrobe of ideas. Her face lights up, headscarf falling awry, as she tells the story of her grandmother and mentor.

"I am perhaps, more than anything else, the product of my grandmother, Fatma, a veiled beauty from South Lebanon who at the age of 14, and to the outrage and chagrin of her family and the entire village, married the man she loved. She refused to marry her cousin as her parents, uncles and aunts expected. She was a poet, a dancer and a singer. And she did all this in the shadow of war."