Category Archives: Contextualisation
5) Contextualisation: Talk and tutorial with Artist MArk Gubb
British artist Mark Gubb spoke at my university and I had the opportunity to speak with him afterwards in a one on one tutorial ( was keen on getting someone news perspective on my work; someone who knows nothing about it). His work is often politically related or includes social injustice issues in society.
One of Marks performance/installation film about Peter Fechter who was murdered at the Berlin wall. This was inspiring to me had the same qualities, impact and confusing stressful environment I wanted my work to share as well. His suggestion was to use the QR code patterns that I had generated as a camouflage print on the tent fabric that I use, that confuses the audience but relates to the use of QR codes and social media interactions (as I mentioned in my documentation posts).
It became clear to me after this discussion with Gubb that I have the ability to make a difference, small but significant, through the use of my art and my passion for making art about social and political issues.
4) Contextualizition: Bristol – Palestinian museum
While I was visiting galleries (such as the Death exhibition in the Bristol Museum and Art gallery) I stumbled completely by accident on a little sign on a door, that there was a pop up museum held by Palestinians activists on the roof. Walking up the 5 flights of steps, are plenty of articles, facts and photographs covering the walls. I was so positively surprised to be greeted by a smiling Western looking lady, wearing the Hijab headdress who discussed the way the museum worked and that it is run by activists. A group of people sat drinking tea in the corner greeted me as i proceeded to walk around taking photos of thousands of articles and photographs, leaflets and protest banners, and even a small section of handcrafted goods made by Palestinian women in the older villages (might I add, villages where my family was raised and some members are actually from). It brought tears to my eyes but gave me the push I needed. I realised I was then considered an activist when one of them began to discuss the impacts of social media on the issue of raising awareness and made some new connections. That was the first time I had considered my self to be part of the activist community.
The influence and push I needed was inspired by these great people running the museum off little funding and donations, giving a voice and ensuring more hear about the truth and learn about this very current, ever continuing, global loss.
3) Contextualizition: Laura Provost & Anne Hardy
Through looking at Laura Provosts work I have decided I will neither be making a minimal or excessively messy environment in my work. Provosts work uses objects to speak for themselves in a composition, which gives a bigger sense to an overall theme throughout the environment. I wish to use the trinkets and found objects in my work, and specifically selected items like the Jordanian and Palestinian headscarfs (culture references), the worry beads (an older generation reference) and evil eyes (superstitious belief reference), all of which allows the viewer to interpret their own narrative from the objects without giving the context of the work away.
Anne Hardys work is similar to Provosts in which they both use objects to fill and create en environment that is surrounded by objects, which each have their own voice, suggesting what the work is about without giving away too much of the context or narrative of the work.
“Anne Hardy’s photographs picture depopulated rooms that suggest surreal fictions. Working in her studio, Hardy builds each of her sets entirely from scratch; a labour-intensive process of constructing an empty room, then developing its interior down to the most minute detail. Using the transient nature of photography, Hardy’s images withhold the actual experience of her environments, allowing our relationship with them to be in our imagination.” Saatchi Gallery website.
2) Contextualisation: QR codes; obsessively collecting articles
Part of my research process and the reason for my drive and passion in my practical work has been the articles I read, share, videos I watch, people I speak to, mainly on social media sites. They break my heart but make me feel like I need to be heard and my contribution is sharing this all through my art and to educate and be as honest as possible about the reality of the chaos occurring even as you read this. That is the point I’m trying to make, is right now, as I type this, as you read it, this is all still going on. This is my day to day, it’s heart breaking and I have had many a heated conversation online with people who have other views on the matter, breakdowns and plenty of tears. I grew up with this and this is me documenting it all because I need to, and expressing this all through my art work.
The first photo is one of my studio space wall when I began to save and collect hundreds of articles, images, links, saying, quotes and other random bits of information; anything I could get my hands on related to the issue, so I could give the best and most honest point of view through my work, hopefully influencing others to do the same. Although it changes on nearly a day to day basis, it is a wall where others can constantly find new information, and a visual mind map for myself.
The frustration I feel, I let go of through reacting to these pieces and responding to them through my painting and calligraffiti.
These are just some examples of the screen shots that I have saved of articles that I have saved and read and shared. As emotionally triggering this can be sometimes, my social media is full of posts like this and I will always make a point of sharing them.
I cannot express my frustration when it comes to doing more in order to help. I have thought and researched and attempted twice to get into the refugee camps back at home in order to just lend a helping hand in any way shape or form; however sadly through plenty of red tape and months of waiting and trying, I was unable to visit. I share my artwork and the articles so I can make others aware of the issues. I feel like my mission is to make others remember that its not ‘us vs. them’ it’s a global community.
Although these are graphic, they are sadly the honest truth.
1) Contextualisation: Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei is a Chinese artists known for his installation work regarding social injustice issues. The powerful piece that intrigued me in his work was the one seen below. The 90 tonne iron rods are debris from an earthquake that occurred in China causing thousands of injuries and fatalities, while the Chinese government did not release a report or the names of the victims affected in the catastrophe. The rods were painstakingly straightened by hand and laid out to replicate the contours of the landscape where the earthquake affected. It is described in Guardians article, “It is I think the heaviest work we’ve ever put in our galleries here,” said co-curator Adrian Locke. “Aside from the technical challenge, it is a very sombre and sobering work when you see it, it has this kind of power and silence about it … it bears a real sense of loss of life.”
This is another piece done by Ai Weiwei where he wraps the Columns of Berlin’s Konzerthaus with 14,000 Salvaged Refugee Life Vests.
“Although thousands of the life jackets can now be seen in Berlin, this does not begin to account for the thousands of jackets that remain on the shores of the Greek island, pointing to the number of refugees who have passed through the island. Since last December Ai has shared dozens of images of refugees who have come to Lesbos on his personal Instagram account, including this image of a mass of life vests left behind.
The temporary art installation was created for the Cinema for Peace gala which took place February 15, 2016.”
This piece has inspired me to show facts in a shocking format throughout my work, numbers and subtle use of an object in its simplest form, can actually be in my opinion one of the most powerful ways of get an idea across through art.
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.