My body of work’s overall intention is Drifting. In my search for giving my work a purpose, I found my inspiration to be sea creatures named Nudibranch. These shell-less sea slugs, have developed through drifting within the depth levels of the ocean and have created different immune system for each depth, such as bright coloration and physical evasion. Through my exploration I realized that the evolution of Nudibranches resembles my family‘s journey. With each generation being born in a different country and continents, all moving to find a home. As a third culture child I have gained a series of passports and cultures that serve me, similar to the Nudibranch’s immune systems.
My depiction of migration from country to country, which allows us to learn new things, acquire new habits, meet new people and experiences. This has a direct effect on our personality, our culture, what we stand with, and sometimes we even lose a little of our own identity through it. People consistently flee their homes due to the multiple refugee crises, which affect today’s world. Because of this I believe many more people will start feeling a drift in their culture and identity as well a need for adaptation. My own experience of a cultural drift made me feeling out of place, forcing me to defend my previous homes and my memories in order to keep them alive as my family drifted from the Middle East out to the West.
I still see a strong presence of our middle eastern background in my day to day life, from the food I eat to the language and habits we use at home. This cultural diversity can be visualized in my painting Movement to Identity/Cheese, showing the backgammon game, which I played with my grandparents as a form of quality time. However, in the bottom right of the painting there is a little explosion mimicking the Beirut blast. A tragedy that my family and I had lived through, which led my family to further drift from our previous homes. The choice of bright colors in this piece juxtapose the sadness of these events as they also bring new memories and positive experiences.
Throughout my practice I used many different mediums and techniques from clay to pointillism and acrylic paintings presenting an overall abstract aesthetic. The use of different mediums and techniques allows for the viewer’s imagination to interpret my work and resonate with it. Through this my body of work I use organic shapes, and a range of vibrant colors. Which is seen in my clay work. All these aspects create a drift in surrounding and environment to the audience which helps embody my theme. Throughout this body of work I made and 4 coil pots all named after different nudibranchs. Which also allowed me to revisit a medium that I worked with a lot during my childhood an element that I re-explored after I had diverged from it for a few years.
Before my exhibition, I visited Frieze where I really enjoyed seeing the artworks exhibited with a simple allowing the art works to speak for themselves, such as Gisela Colon’s simple settings behind her lively artworks. I used this idea to exhibit my two paintings as well as my coil pots as I thought the dynamic within the artwork was enough. However, for my smaller piece The Escape, I was inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s way of creating an environment around each artwork and framing it in boxes or a room. This is why I placed this artwork within a box to give it its own space and placed in a space that could only be seen from one point of view, which forces the audience in interacting with the exhibit. While placing each coil pots in front of my painting I wanted to communicate the theme of drifting through their dispersive placement. I therefore placed each artwork apart which allow the public to walk around a bigger visual space and gives each artwork its own light. Behind these bigger pieces I installed my piece Ursula’s Garden from which my artworks are drifting from, mimicking the migration of people such as my family from their place of origin.