I wanted each final piece to be able to give a subtle message and be semi-self explanatory. Although some have text in arabic, I wanted the overall compositions to have clues as to what the piece is about or what it’s suggesting. Through the use of the symbols like the Evil Eye and the Hand of Fatima, I hope to suggest that the found objects have now turned into items of good luck, hope and optimism. Items that the refugees cling on to for hope and decorate their new fabric houses, in hopes to make it feel more like a home.
This is a piece (above) that I had started at the beginning of the project and finished recently at the end of my research. I wanted to come back to this piece and create an almost full circle; tying in the new methods and techniques of working that I had learnt or created through out the year after starting it. The portrait in the piece is of a young Syrian refugee boy who’s photograph had captured my attention in my early research for this project. He stood in a crowd and seemed to have a very honest and innocent expression on his face which made him seem still; while the world around him seemed busy. It made me think about the child’s future and the uncertainty of where he would be in a few years time?, who would be around him?, how much longer is this going to go in for? will all of his family still be around him?, would he even be able to go home after the chaos has ended? I wrote some words related to these questions in Arabic, in the background of the piece. Through the use of darker colours like deep purples and greys, and collaged newspaper articles about the chaos in Syria, I tried to recreate a busy and negative feeling background to mirror the boys surroundings at the time. I used purples and blue, in contrast to the boys orange-y skin tones to compliment each other. The word “Al Mustaqbal” is written boldly at the bottom of the piece which means “the future” suggesting that the boys future is uncertain from now on. Due to the writing being a main focal point in the piece I wanted to write it in Arabic as to not make the meaning too obvious. When I went back to working on this piece I then added patterns of the symbols I had been using like the evil eye and the hand of Fatima spray painted lightly using a stencil to create a geometric pattern in the corners. This was done to symbolise the hope that I felt was needed for the boy, in order for him to have a chaos free future.
I had originally encountered a problem while trying to figure out a way to hang this piece. I hadn’t anticipated that that the weight of the piece would be such an issue; and when time came to hang it up on the wall space that I was given, I was stuck. Due to the painting being done on a large piece of MDF board, it is extremely heavy, therefor in order to be able to hang it up I had to glue on some wooden brackets and use nails and screws to reinforce them. However when I tried to screw holes in the wall I found that the wall was actually hollow in the middle and therefor they wouldn’t be able to hold the weight of the painting. However I was able to divert the problem and stood the piece on a wooden block, and placed one of the hands of Fatima I made in front of it. This worked out well as it hints to the idea of palm reading (a large belief in the Middle Eastern culture) and relates to the idea of an uncertain future.
This collage of smaller pieces are all done on found pieces of wood that I manipulated slightly and cut up (which relates back my research of the artist Tayseer Barakat) and are created using a mixture of collage, acrylic paints, coloured pencils, spray paints and stencils, ink stamps, tracing paper and hot glue gun glue. The girl in the portrait is a young refugee girl who lost her sight in one eye from shrapnel in a bomb in Syria. The text on the left is a newspaper transfer that translates to “Haqii Ashki” which means “I have a right to complain”. All the pieces were created with the theme of the media corrupting and distorting the truth in the news about the refugees. The piece with the larger evil eye and text over it is arabic and translates to “we are strong, we will remain strong, even after the chaos.”
This piece is done on an opened up box which links again to my artist research of working on “junk” or found objects. I wanted to create a piece that on its own was powerful and has the aesthetic of a house decoration.
These are a few pieces that I created using mixed media and collaging methods (clay, hot glue, found beach glass, dried paint, exc.) to create another collective collage using bright and vibrant colours. However all with sayings or ‘thoughts’ related to refugees and war. [Top left: “shujaa” means bravery. Top right: “Himayah w Quwah” means protection and strength. Bottom left: is a prayer for protection.] The colours used throughout these pieces were influenced by my field project Understanding Colour, and compliment each other and hopefully give a positive feel; so the pieces can be used as decorations to bring hope or as a reminder to stay optimistic.
This piece was done on a crate that I found and distressed. I made the hanging ‘worry beads’ with tassels and charms using a variety of mix-matched beads. The evil eye in the middle has text all around it which I wrote about my thoughts on all of the refugees and the approach the media has taken to cover their stories. It is done on pieces of different types of card and is done in acrylic paint and spray paint. My aim for the overall piece is for it to seem like it would have been used for a large symbol of luck possibly in the refugee camps.
I created this portrait using acrylic paints and coloured pencils, over a newspaper article in arabic about the Syrian refugee children in the Jordanian camps. The hand of Fatima sprayed on in the corner and the overall appearance is meant to show that the girl in the piece symbolises pain and ‘not having a say’ in the situation, also suggesting that the media in the west and the Middle East are different and the truth about the situation is not being told honestly.
This piece at first glance is meant to look like a painting or decoration that would be hung up in a home, and is done with bright acrylic colours to symbolise a positive feeling. However the text translates to the quote from a news story that I had seen about a 5 year old Palestinian boy in occupied Palestinian land, who had shouted the words “Ana lasto irhabiyah” which means simply, “I am not a terrorist”. The boy was nearly arrested in Palestine for suspicious behaviour while playing outside and was accused of being a terrorist. This is what inspired this piece, as I wanted to show what stories Western media avoids covering.
These are some of the Lino-cut print experiments that I produced on tracing paper. I used this method because it never gives the same two results and has a rough and newspaper print feel to it. I felt like these pieces were powerful on their own as the words translate to “Al shuja’a” which means “strength” and “Al jaben” which means “a coward”. Words commonly used by the media and in newspapers related to stories about the refugees.
This is the piece that I did in one of the workshops I attended about cut out paintings (which influenced most of my other pieces). It is meant to symbolise a refugee tent and the cloud on top symbolises the burden of being a refugee. The hand of Fatima and the evil eye in the middle are meant to be reminders of hope ‘look down on’ the refugees protecting them. The words translates again to “Al quwah w al shujaa” which mean strength and bravery, two of the traits needed for the resilient refugees to survive. The colours I used emphasise the burden of becoming a refugee and the pain related to it.
These are my two sketchbooks that I worked in throughout the two fields projects this year; the black one is related to the “Gorrillas in the roses” project, and the brown one is related to the “Understanding colour” project. I chose to display them on a small table covered in a traditional Middle Eastern head scarf (which is not worn for religious beliefs but more as a symbol of pride from the country it represents). I have put two clay ‘decorations’ or symbols of luck that I have made on top, to turn the display into an installation piece on its own.