The artworks that I created for this exhibition remain true to my desire to create with simplicity and ambiguity. I allowed for empty spaces which create an uncertainty that inspires seeking our own stories. An openness to uncertainty in any conversation leads to endless possibilities and new meanings. In Noh theater, for example, a pause gives space for an inner rehearsal and imagination similar to silence in music. I created forms with a sense of refinement of the Japanese aesthetics that dissolve into these spaces. The Islamic sense of calligraphic brushwork I rendered vertically similar to Asian scripts are love poems written by Arabic women contradicting the traditional Islamic calligraphy. The mere presence of such inscriptions deliver powerful messages even if they are not legible. I am interested in this power as well as their seductive aesthetics. Silences, disappearing figures, and the scripts hold a space that suggests a mysterious mood that isn’t to be described, but to be felt.
It is a pity for that body to be covered
It is injustice for that face to be veiled
Sa’di (Persian, 13th cc)
When night falls, anticipate me visiting you.
For I believe night is the best keeper of secrets.
I feel a love for you that if the sun had it, it would not shine,
nor the moon rise, nor the stars begin their nightly journey
Wallada bint al-Mustakfi (Andalusian, 11th cc)
Bless those wonderful nights
Nazhun al-Garnatiya bint al-Qulai’iya (Andalusian, 12th cc)
Shall I visit you or shall you visit me
Ḥafṣa bint al-Ḥājj ar-Rakūniyya (Andalusian, 12th cc)
As I travel north and east and pass through towns with foggy windows each with its own happenings, I borrow stories. Happenings on an ordinary evening we witness from these windows allude to these stories.
lives strange as they are
beg me to borrow their tales
in strange towns I pass