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) Documentation: My immediate emotional responses

*I have edited and added newer photos into this post to help show the progress in this recurring theme (writing using Arabic calligraphy, my immediate emotional responses to stories I learn about) in my work*

“Oh God, my hearts breaks, it breaks my heart. Akh.”

The banner includes phrases I wrote down as a response to the stone throwing children of Palestine, simply saying “if you run fast enough, you live”.


These two pieces include a poem: “A storm cannot uproot a forest”, relating to the occupied Palestinian land taken by illegal Israeli settlers.

The other simply says, “Oh Lord, oh God, poor things akh. God protect them, Lord please, for the love of God, please help them, for the love of God.”


This piece is the names of the innocent victims under the age of 25 that have been murdered in Palestine through the occupation, that took place 166,02km away from the home which I grew up in. A country so close (both for personal family links) and an unbreakable connection between the Palestinian and Jordanian culture; how could I not identify with these kids, I grew up with friends just like them. That could have been us.


“Strength” in response the the ridiculous accusations and altered truths main media portrays. The necessity to stay strong and power through no matter what is said.


*UPDATED* 20th April

I have used the older pieces I created as emotional responses and created some more after listening to music and reading numerous articles about the U.S elections that are currently taking place; specifically Donald Trump. I was frustrated and allowed my brain to bilingually write down in both Arabic and English how I was feeling in response.

“Khara ala’ Trump” + “Savage bastard”


I have spent hours in the tent alone over the past 2 months, adding parts, building, and resting in the tent. This has made emotionally connecting with the tent easier as I feel comfortable working in the environment and began to build an emotional attachment just as anyone would build an attachment to a constantly visited shelter.


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.

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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.


1) Documentation: Brick collages updated

These are some photos of my original brick collage which I plan on displaying in my final exhibit at our degree show, which was influenced by the work I created for my gap crit at university. I have used a variety of materials in both parts of this work, like broken pieces of brick that I collaged and tried to ‘fix’, evil eyes (handmade by me and ones made in Palestine, Syria and Jordan), glass pieces, a broken piece of teacup, worry beads, stones and fragile plaster bullets that I made with names of the fragile and innocent victims, on them.

Although all the objects act as symbols in themselves; together I hoped they would be able to represent the “rubble” that remained after the chaos, with trinkets and remains of the home and life before it all. I have been enjoying using the objects and trinkets as contributing factors to my work, each with its own voice and input into my work.

Older work:

Newer work:

Dissertation PDP

Writing my dissertation was an experience I had been looking forward to starting for most of my time at university. Although at first I had no idea what I wanted to write about, through Field and Subject work I discovered the world of calligraphy; Arabic calligraphy in particular. I began to research and enjoyed watching various videos throughout my research, however I began to find reading very difficult, not only because most of the research the topic that I was researching into was in Arabic, but also because I found out that I have dyslexia. Calling this a hurdle, is an understatement, but its what I had to overcome and although I tried my best to get as much help for it; circumstances didn’t allow for any further help to be given to me. I continued to research and although hit ‘ a wall’ for a period of time, I ensured I was always informed on any updates in the world of Arabic calligraphy and in the Arabic graffiti scene; to keep motivated.

Looking more into the history of the world of Arabic calligraphy made me feel a sense of pride and I was incredibly interested in the way the language was able to spread not just in the arabian peninsula; but also on a global scale over time. The religious connections that Arabic calligraphy has with Islam are plenty, and it is believed that Arabic is the sacred language representing Islam now. The spreading of the language and the religion, ensured that calligraphy remained loved and appreciated through time. The verse in the Quran named “Al Qalam” meaning The Pen, discusses the importance of documenting history and the stories through time to ensure the same values and morals remain with the future generations, through the use of a pen and calligraphy. Calligraphy was also a way to show respect to the text in the holy book, as it is considered a skill that may only be mastered by a pupil who is also trained by a master, after much practice. This added an importance to the skill and the reputation that goes with being named a skilled master calligrapher; ensuring that it has remained a respected skill till this day.


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I researched more into the contemporary side of calligraphy as that is where I was able to find a large variety of resources to research and was able to connect it personally to myself (as I grew up in Jordan in the Middle East, and this made it interesting and easy for me to relate to). Festivals, exhibitions and work from Dismaland inspired me both in my dissertation and in my practical work for my Subject project (gallery exhibition), are all the way I tried to research and what I began to become influenced by in my dissertation and in my practical work. I started to see the two merge into each other naturally throughout my work and began to feel inspired to continue to incorporate Arabic calligraphy in my practical work.

In my dissertation I examine the different styles of old Arabic calligraphy and where they all decent from (which is scattered and influenced from all over the Arabian Peninsula). I then proceed to look into and examine the way contemporary Middle Eastern artists and artists that have been inspired by the Middle Eastern art, are creating work with the same traditions, styles, structures and rules applied in calligraphy throughout their work. This was something that inspired me to practice my calligraphy skills in my work and incorporate the same rules in the way I write all the text throughout my work.

Looking at contemporary Arabic artists like Mohammed Gaber from Egypt, whose work has been used as a symbol of unity in during the Egyptian revolution.


Or Shirin Neshat whose work is about socio-economical issues and issues of inequality for women in the Middle East, having lived in places like Saudi Arabia and Morocco.



Throughout my research I began to feel more and more inspired and passionate about the issues in the Middle East and in my opinion my dissertation research is what really kept me inspired and become more aware about the issues in the Middle East in recent history.

In my practical work I incorporated Arabic calligraphy, poetry, emotional responses and objects that I found that relate to my work, all together, to create a personal and strong emotional feeling, for the viewer to experience the narrative of my work, which is usally about the refugees and war. Although my work has taken a toll on me at times, as it is not particularly happy concepts my work deals with, I have remained inspired and tried to use my dissertation research as fuel for creating my work, which I am so passionate about, and want to make a difference and have my voice heard, when it comes to the Middle Eastern issues and the way through art, messages and truths can be shared. Silent protests can be held and symbols of solidarity can be shared enabling the voices of the people to be heard.

I have been using the material and objects in my work along side the calligraphic skills that I have learnt throughout my dissertation research, to be the strength and foundations in my work to portray my narrative concepts. Through using found objects that I have collaged, painted and written calligraphy over them, I have created pieces that have more of a cultural representation as though the objects themselves have the ability to suggest to the viewer what my work is about.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my dissertation and although its been difficult and trying at times, it has opened a whole new world of inspiration and respect in my artist work and I know i will continue to research and practice calligraphy throughout the rest of my work for a long time to come.

Artist statement; 3rd year

I am working in response to the sudden influx of social media coverage, of the devastations happening throughout the Middle East; specifically the children and families affected. Through constant stimulation on social media, news updates every few minutes, articles and graphic photographs being shared constantly, my work has become something that influences my every day and is my main drive, to hopefully make others more aware of the reality and severity of these issues. Main media such as news channels only share a select few stories; very often with a subjective opinion related, often avoiding the truth. I have always been influenced by social activism and am hoping to raise awareness of the overlooked, but very relevant issues. Through the use of newspaper articles cutouts, printed photographs shared on social media, and found objects that I have been obsessively collecting; I aim to create collages that give a sense of unease and uncertainty. My influence for this is the Syrian refugees and those living in occupied Palestine; and how they live in constant fear and uncertainty. By using found objects like broken bricks, which I glued back together, and old photographs, I have collaged a number of large compositions. Through the use of Arabic calligraphy, English text, bricks and discarded and overlooked objects which could have huge sentimental value to refugees or those forced to leave their homes; I hope to emphasize the idea that once something is broken, it can never really be put back together without cracks.