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Mommy loves You
Mommy loves You

 

The Dark Ages 2015-2022

I was born in Bahrain in 1967.  I experienced kindergarten at Sacred Heart School and moved on to Bahrain School studying until graduation in ’85.  At one point, Bahrain School boasted students from 51 nationalities.

 

Upon graduation, I moved to the UK for college and then to the USA.  Every year I’d return to Bahrain for the holidays.

 

I was a third culture kid.  The advantage was having the opportunity to travel abroad. On top of that my own homeland exposed me to diverse cultures, people, and religions.

 

The youngest of six children, I came from a moderate family.  I remember fondly the people, music, laughter, and arts, but also a sense of prayer and good deeds.  My father was a devout Muslim yet quite progressive.  Education was very important to him, so all of my siblings had the opportunity to go abroad to study.

 

I witnessed love, respect, and devotion all around.  Bahrain harmoniously brought a church, temple, and mosque co existing within walking distance.

 

That was then

 

This is now

 

 

I am a Muslim.  But first and for most, I am a human being.  When I view myself in that light, I can see that there are many others like me.  I take out denominations, sub divisions, pre conceived notions and newly formed radicalized definitions of words.

 

As it’s said: We are all equal in the eyes of our creator.

 

Muslim = Terrorist

 

Words and imagery have taken a very hardcore twist; twittering or expressing oneself artistically is a sin punishable by death.  From Charlie Hebdo to the badly lo fi ISIS videos.

 

After living abroad for over 25 years, I returned to Bahrain.  Soon I was faced with the concepts of Middle Eastern art and also societal awareness which led to a closer scrutiny my own art.  I questioned myself until I formulated that all religions, all art, most everything comes from one source- LIGHT, all we are merely doing is recycling that one pure source.

 

In this new series, I’m not only exploring my vantage point on Islam but more importantly, how our minds have become so accustomed to certain symbols that we forget to see what’s on the surface.

 

Most can identify a Mc as burgers, blue cans as Pepsi, and red cans as Coke.  It’s easy to misjudge an appearance; if one is desperately searching for the needle in the haystack; he will find it!

 

These pieces are my self portraits, like they always are, a reflection of myself and this World I encompass.

 

I feel ready to expose my identity as a human, a woman, a Muslim and so on.  This is merely my viewpoint, my personal menagerie of moments, thoughts, fears and experiences that have ushered me along.  After all, God is in all of us.

That was then...
This is now...
My Last Supper
Maria, Myself, and I

 

Mama & Magdalena

 

Recently I’ve turned my focus from being outwardly to inwardly.  I feel it’s a succession to yet another level in one’s life path.

 

Perhaps it’s the coming of age- I’m about to turn 50.

 

I am witnessing my Mother getting old and losing her health, yet humbling me in her approach to it.  She’s so fragile yet she hardly complains.  She approaches life with dignity and a sincere smile.

 

Age really is but a number.  Our outer shell might not be able to sustain the cracks of time, but the mind and soul can keep going.

 

Everything has it’s own reflection: Yin has Yang, Light has Darkness, and Life has Death.

 

Most of my life i’ve been afraid of death; not of my one but of others that I care for so much.  I now approach death with the feeling and belief that even dying has it’s own beauty to it.

 

Mama & Magdalena symbolizes the bond between a Mother & daughter.  I photographed intimate pieces like: the tree in my Mother’s garden, a valentines rose, her 2 red chairs that are always side by side in her dining room, and so on. Then I intricately “stiched” them together into the final tableaux on canvas.

 

Mother had two dresses made for her with matching patterns but of different colors.  She suggested that in the coming Eid she would wear the black & white one, and I the red & black one.

 

Eid approached and as we both sat side by side with our almost matching outfits, I took this self portrait of us.  An extraordinary feeling overtook me at that moment; I felt like smiling and crying at the same time.

 

The last layer that brings the moment all together is my old gold chain that hangs tightly around my neck then proceeds to both of our hands grasping it equally and my Mother holding my heart.  It symbolizes the younger women and her journey of getting older, finding that balance and finally  learning the knowledge of time.

 

Mother is holding on to my heart because she is my heart… who better to hold my heart than the woman who created me and nourished me all along.

Mama & Magdalena
I love you, I love you not
Maria
His Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper has puzzled many for it’s non inclusion of women in such a pivotal moment.

 

According to gospel accounts including:

 

Matthew 27:55

 

“Many women were there, watching from a distance.  They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.”

 

Jesus’s mother Mary was one of his most faithful followers along with another Mary, from Magdala who was the disciple Jesus appeared to first after his resurrection.

 

As any artist, Leonardo da Vinci painted his rendition of the moment.  We can all take the same picture but every story will be slightly different.

 

I was born in Bahrain in 1967.  I experienced kindergarten at Sacred Heart School and moved on to Bahrain School studying until graduation in ’85.  At one point, Bahrain School boasted students from 51 nationalities.  Pretty much, Was surrounded by most religious ethnicities.

 

In my tableaux, I explore religion through a magnifying glass… searching for the common thread of light that we all share.

 

Words and imagery have taken a very hardcore twist; expressing oneself artistically is at times a sin punishable by death.

 

I lost my father at a very young age. Although a child,  I would feel that his essence was always there.  I would look up at the sky and talk to him.  Simply, God to me was the sky.

 

Jesus, Our Father had a duality of meaning to me; both different yet parallel to each other.

 

Our Last Supper explores the identity of being a woman; of yearning for the Father that left me too soon and the frustration of mishandling the true idea of religion.

 

With fragments of personal objects, I photograph and then stitch together the visuality of questions I ask myself.

 

Jesus, Our Father is not visible to me yet he is there as he always is hanging on to a shred of candle light to save his people.  He is distraught by what he has witnessed in humanity and the lack of empathy for the treatment of our universe.

 

These pieces are my self portraits, like they always are, a reflection of myself and this World I encompass.

 

This is merely my viewpoint, my personal menagerie of moments, thoughts, fears and experiences that have ushered me along.  After all, God is in all of us.

Our Last Supper
Bonjour Mama
7Adam&Hawwah.jpg
Adam & Hawwah
Mama Mariam

The Last Sufrah

In collaboration with @photosalachair
videography by @karimaljanobi


 

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