Our God Is a Woman In connection with Marianne Lindberg De Geer's retrospective exhibition Full speed ahead, we are showing Leyla Assaf-Tengroth's films Our God is a Woman and Thee iskland of Woman at Färgfabriken on November 12. Our God is a woman already in 1985 raised many thoughts at MLDG, from which she has later based both artistically and as a writer/columnist.
12 November 2017
About the movies
Our God is a Woman (1985) In the early 1980s, Leyla Assaf-Tengroths made the film Our God is a Woman in the Bijagos Islands in western Guinea Bissau, West Africa. The film told about something nowadays very rare – a matrilineal society. It was women who made decisions about village affairs, women were priests and chiefs, they themselves decided who they wanted to marry and divorce. The men were completely subordinate, they behaved in a way that we usually associate with women – they adorned themselves, painted themselves, made themselves as attractive as they could to impress the women. The community was largely self-sufficient. To the extent that something had to be brought in from the outside, it was through barter. Money was unknown.
Our God is a Woman won awards and was sold to 60 TV channels worldwide. Leyla Assaf-Tengeroth lived in Guinea Bissau for four years in the early 80’s and two years in the early 90’s, visiting on several occasions this particular community, Endena, located on a rather inaccessible island, Canjabaque. Island of Women (2013)
25 years after the internationally acclaimed documentary Our God is a Woman, Leyla Assaf-Tengroth travels back to the Bijagos Islands and discovers that much has changed. The modern lifestyle has intruded. But it is still the women who have the last word. Theobalde and Elisa are the main characters in Leyla Assaf-Tengroth’s new story. When they marry, they are given land by the women’s council, Grandesan. The land and the harvest from it will belong to Elisha. Because it is the women who own the land and have the key to the food supply. It is the bride-to-be and her mother who are responsible for the wedding. But everyone helps with butchering and cooking.
– If you come back in 10 years, you will see that I have a house full of children, a job, and that I do a lot of things, Elisa tells Leyla the day after the wedding. About Leyla Assaf-Tengroth Leyla Assaf-Tengroth was born and raised in Lebanon. She began her studies at ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Beirut. She has continued her studies in Sweden at, among others, Konstfack, the Dramatic Institute and studied film studies at Stockholm University. She started her film career in the early 80s and has made over 100 documentaries and 6 feature films and short films. Her films have always focused on vulnerable people, especially women and children in war, nature or famine disasters. Her goal is to try to show that what is fundamental in man is universal regardless of where you are on earth. And that everyone should be able to identify themselves regardless of culture or religion. Leyla Assaf-Tengroth’s films have been shown in cinemas, television and festivals around the world