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my art is—

 

I've been told I don't have a Syrian accent.

As a lifelong resident of the United Arab Emirates, I've also been told I have a terrible Palestinian accent and no major identifying inflections in my English accent. I'm one of the thirty-seven grandchildren of a Palestinian refugee, the daughter of an Aleppine–accented Syrian and a Syrian Palestinian. I am still just a resident.

Attempting to understand my place amid this cultural disorientation, I look for stories in my family's history. I attempt to understand my place by looking into the past, and connecting with the events in my family that resulted in my upbringing in the UAE. These stories, wandering at times, yet always vivid, keep returning to the idea of place and its ties to identity. It has been this direct relationship between a person and their environmental and architectural surroundings that has interested me in my early work.

During my pursuit of a Bachelor's of Architecture from the American University of Sharjah, I often gravitated towards making as a generative process rather than a result. I spent my days working on space intervention projects at a one-to-one scale, and my nights obsessively drawing for my elective drawing class.

Currently an architect and a production coordinator at the Sharjah Art Foundation, I'm exposed to diverse art processes and have worked with artists such as Byron Kim, Eric Baudelaire and Asunción Molinos Gordo on their commissioned projects. I've exhibited in group shows for Hunar Gallery, the Sharjah Art Foundation, Tashkeel and Warehouse 421. In 2014, I was awarded the second place in The National Short Story competition, and the Architecture Research Centre Consortium King Student Medal. Later that same year I was nominated into the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship (SEAF), an event that marked a turning point in my career. SEAF helped me find the control and direction I lacked in my art practice, and pushed me towards rigor in making and conceptual thinking. It taught me to be aware of how easily I became engulfed in a process, and so I learned to be critical about the connotations the process could carry.

I often work with an array of referential materials, such as concrete blocks or candle wax. The effect of the process on the physical and conceptual properties of a material became the main courier of content in my work, allowing for specificity in personal narratives to come through in my installations. It is through these stories –recounted by family members – that I attempt to connect with the difficult experiences I feel I have unjustly avoided. Pushed by curiosity and guilt, I set up systems that force me to go through similar trials, then create a denouement of installations that are pausing points of reflection on the resulting transformations.