Tag Archives: Contextulisation

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.




Time & Change

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

Time: Arab Spring and Syrian refugees – an understanding.

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!)