Summative Post: Contextualisation

1) Herakut: A starting point

Herakut have been the main starting point for my work based on refugees, as they work similarly; in refugee camps, creating bright and beautiful murals with an important message related to the camps and the struggles associated with war and the amount of resilience it requires to be a refugee. I wanted to try to create works that did the same thing; be aesthetically appealing with a strong yet non-obvious message in each. This was the common theme throughout all of my work and I used text (in both Arabic and English letters so some things can be read and others cannot) and arabic calligraphy to portray this.


2) Live stream: Gaza

This was part of my research for what life was actually like for people who lived in Gaza or similarly occupied places that now live in refugee camps. I had been researching and trying to find honest news and forms of media (which was an issue I had been looking into; seeing how the media in different countries portrays the honest truth and how much the media actually shares with the Western world.) This was a live stream that I found from a journalist who was living in Gaza and had been live streaming footage to followers through an online website, for those who wanted to see what life was actually like during the constant bombing in everyday Gaza life. Although it was distressing to watch, it gave me a whole other insight to what was actually going on in a chaotic world that was so close to home for me. The idea that so much was being hidden in Western media upset and angered me. People were not getting the honest truth and it was easy for me to see why the connection of the Middle-Eastern culture and the term “terror” were so often associated together, even innocent children. It became a sort of mission of mine to incorporate honest influences into my work to support the powerful messages I was trying to convey, but also portray the more serious and painful effects of it all.


3) Tayseer Barakat: Found objects

Through my research of Palestinian refugee artist Barakat, I found that his work used things that would normally be categorised as ugly or useless, and worked on them to turn them into works of art in their own right. As he grew up as a refugee himself, supplies for making art were limited and therefore his resilience and capability to use these found objects inspired me to use similar ground to work on. I used found pieces of wood and card throughout my work and tried to accomplish the same concept; turning ‘junk’ into art, working with new interesting textures and surfaces that I was not used to working on normally. I felt like this gave my work more character and added another and deeper meaning to my work, as even the ‘canvases’ I was working on, became part of my artworks.


4) Mental Note: the media

I had been constantly watching and reading the different news stations that discussed the Middle East, and the problems that had been going on in the area. From stations and news agencies in Jordan online and here in the UK, and seeing the differences in the way the news was being portrayed even about the same subject truly shocked me. Although the stories were being shared; they were far from the truth in many cases. I documented this a few times so that I could reference this in my work and to support my concepts that the media is never fully honest. This is an example of one that I recorded. I used this concept and also the irony throughout my work, which I was going to incorporate as text or genuine newspaper cut outs to show the comparison of the two.

5) Rana Bishara: symbols of hope

I was fascinated by Bisharas work and the way she uses Middle-Eastern symbolic objects throughout her work. She takes these symbols of hope, luck or respect and incorporates them into her work beautifully creating a curiosity amongst her viewers about the truth or symbolism of the object. Cacti specifically, became a common symbol used throughout her work representing the ‘Nakba’ (which translates to catastrophe) which is about the Palestinian occupation; when more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and their land in 1948. I decided to use a similar trend throughout my work of using specific symbols of hope and good fortune (in my case the Evil Eye; a symbol that wears of bad luck, and the Hand of Fatima; which brings good fortune to whomever carries or wears one). I started to use these symbols in all of my work, and similarly began incorporating colours such as golds and deep blues into my work, which are strongly associated with these symbols and the ideas of luck and fortune.



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