An image of some of the signs that had been collected from protests all around the world. This inspired me to look into art in protests and the power they had all over the world.
After researching I discovered Peter Hapaks article and photography series. He documented portraits of people who had been involved in a protest. Each was interviewed and asked to bring something that was significant and reminded them of the protest. I was inspired by the series and have started to collect objects and save articles that trigger an emotion in me; whether its frustration or pain, and am trying to incorporate this idea of an object having a significant sentimental value that triggers pain.
“Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, says, “Mohamed suffered a lot. He worked hard. But when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity.”
“El Teneen, a prominent Egyptian graffiti artist, wears a homemade gas mask.”
“Ahmed Harara is a Cairo dentist who was blinded in one eye by a rubber bullet during clashes in January. In November, he was shot in his other eye. Now he is completely blind. “As they say in America, power of the people will change everything,” Harara says.”
“Yahi Abdel Shafy, left, is a Salafi and a doctor who works in the field hospital in Tahrir Square. Egyptian protester Saleh Mohamed, right, uses a Maalox mixture on his eyes to counter the effects of tear gas.”
“Egyptian protester Nehal Marei. Right, a tear-gas canister in Egypt.”
I started off this project a brief idea of the concepts I wanted to work around, but no idea where to start. I started with the idea of the refugees suffering in the camps in Jordan (Jordan being home for me) and the effects that the trauma and chaos of war has had on them.
The Zaatari refugee camp in the North of Jordan was the camp I decided to focus on. For my subject work I started looking at different ways I could portray emotions and the truths of the war and its effects, looking at artists such as Herakut and Joel Bergner and the positive impact they made on the Zaatari community through their work. I wanted to create work with similar intentions on a smaller scale with subtle messages; making others more aware of the pain and emotions related to being a refugee. I wanted to show that even in darker times, no matter how hard things became, they were still able to remain optimistic and their resilience enabled them to make the most of their new environment.
I have experimented with different mediums and techniques to try and best express these feelings. For example; painting and collaging using newspaper articles about the refugees or similar issues, printing different forms of text and calligraphy, in addition to using symbolic images of Middle Eastern good fortune.
Despite being held back by a period of illness, I feel successful and proud with the outcomes of my work.
Overall I am very pleased with all of my work and the direction it headed into. I was able to play with textures and colours and combining the two cities together. Through the group project and workshops I feel like I grew as an artist and in a way was able to settle into Cardiff better and really appreciate home.
My Subject work is explained in my sketchbooks and my supporting works are around them. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the work I produced this year!
I have had a problem with my WordPress and lost a large amount of data and blog posts I posted, I tried to resolve it however I was unable to, so these are the posts that are up to date for me and I will catch up with the rest in the near future. Apologies for the inconvenience!
Children tend to be affected by either extreme when a shocking or life changing incident occurs. They suffer, and are affected and may become depressed, or accept it and make the most of what they do have and try to get over it all. Either way children tend to still cope with situations in a less serious way in the moment, and in general are more innocent and easily entertained. While reading an article about Syrian children in the Zaatari camp and how they hold jobs and act as it they were adults, they still however smile, play and run around, and in fact play sports and some have even formed teams. Reading about this made me think about the innocence and I wanted to capture this in my work. How they find comfort or some happiness in the simplest of things and since my work has been focusing on emotions and subtle changes in them, also how honest expressions can be in telling our emotions, children in particular do this well; I will be incorporating them into my final piece, however focusing on the more dramatic background representing terror and chaos going on around them despite this.
(This link above is an article from Jordanian newspaper that shows how organisations and volunteers are trying to ensure the children to have a childhood and some distraction whilst staying at the camps, by having drawing and colouring groups and arts and crafts).
(This link above is about the children in particular and their way of life in the Zaatari camps).
In November we went to London for the day, which was incredibly exciting for me as I had only been once before and never got to explore it and visit galleries. We managed to visit 5 museums, some of which were the Tate Modern where I saw some of Salvador Dali and Picasso’s works, Tate Britain and the Hunterian Museum which where all incredibly interesting and useful. It was an experience to see the artworks in person and some really had strong impact on me such as some of the Arabic pieces which I have added photos of below. It was an overall great trip and very beneficial for this project.
When thinking about the theme of the project that was set for us; time, a thought popped up into my head about change. I always seem to gravitate to the idea of change. Growing up in and Arab county, despite being classed British and Greek and going to an international school, has made me accepting of change. See, being in an international school people come and go constantly, and you become somewhat used to and less sensitive to the pain that comes with letting go of someone. Although it is always hard, knowing that that person is still well, healthy, and just moving on with their lives makes it okay and easier to cope with (plus it’s damn great having friends all over the world.)
However, living in the Middle East comes with a big reality of poverty, hardship, loss and especially conflict. Although Jordan (where I was born and raised and where my family still live), is a safe and ‘conflict free’ area in comparison to our sistering countries; issues still arise. Moving to the UK made me realise how different life is here. While watching the news here one day, a story about the Middle East and the Arab Spring was mentioned. Having lived there all my life,I realised that what the news casters were saying was actually far from the truth and extremely misleading. The situation within the surrounding countries of Jordan where conflict was occurring, being Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, and not to mention Syria; was getting pretty bad. However there were never any bomb attack threats to Jordan, or any threats of any kind of conflict for that matter. In a way Jordan has always been known as the ‘safe haven’ and peace land between it all. The media had made Jordan to be an extremely dangerous and hostile place to live or even visit, which in tern has had a massive effect on our lives there as a consequence. This made me furious and made me think about the reactions and shock from people here when I told them about what Jordan was really like. This is what made me decide to relate my work to this theme, and I became more and more fascinated by the idea of how peoples perceptions of things can change dramatically over time. Continue reading Time & Change
I began research into the Arab Spring further. I wanted to look at the way lives were affected and what sort of stories I would tell and what life was actually like there. I wanted my work to show the effects of conflict and the impact it had on lives. I looked into the effects especially on the Syrians, who have been forced into refuge and out of their homes. I was deeply saddened by the way people where treated and dehumanised. Over 40,000 Syrians moved to Jordan and into the Zaatari refugee camp in the last year. The camp has become somewhat of a ghost-like town of its own, with families living there mourning loved ones and silently trying to move on with life, shattered by the chaos back home. The reality of living at the park is one I do not think many know of; children work and are treated as adults and are expected to provide for the family as well as the adults and most families live in UN provided tents. Thousands of lives were sadly lost and many injured. Mothers lost children and mourn them, fathers lost brothers and neighbours. All were affected and still suffer everyday. However one thing i noticed and I was extremely fascinated by through my research (such as videos and articles which I will list and link below) is that children remain innocent. By saying this I don’t mean normal learning process and lack of knowledge, but the honesty and pureness of children. Despite all the chaos and trouble, the sadness and depression, children always find a way to cheer themselves up and make the best out of a situation; no matter how stressful. This was something I really want to research further.
This is a link to a documentary about the problems occurring in Syria and the effects it has on the lives of the people who live there. (WARNING: contains very graphic imagery – viewer discretion is advised!)