if speech is silver...

if speech is silver... . 2019 

if speech is silver... . 2019

if speech is silver... . 2019

if speech is silver... (detail) . 2019

if speech is silver... (detail) . 2019

if speech is silver... (detail) . 2019

i'm so excited to finally be posting about my latest textile project 'if speech is silver...'. as mentioned in my previous post, i am part of warehouse 421's current exhibition 'nomadic traces: journey of arabian scripts', in partnership with the khatt foundation
the exhibition '[...] reflects on the important role that scripts have played in defining and preserving the cultural identity of past and present civilizations, and on the migrational and transformative nature of writing and its ability to freely cross borders and cultures. the exhibition sheds light on the development of some of the key abjads (consonantal alphabets) of the middle east. it poetically links the past with the present, showing in particular the wealth of this region through its many scripts, including phoenician, aramaic, musnad, palmyrene, nabatean, and early arabic (jazm).'
the exhibition features extensive research about each of the above mentioned scripts, alongside newly commissioned artworks. i was invited by the exhibition curator dr. huda smitshuijzen abifarès to contribute towards the show with new textile pieces. this was my first major textile project since working on my thesis at risd last year. it was quite a challenge readapting to working with textiles and figuring out how to accommodate a textile based studio practise in dubai.
i think my favourite part about working on this project was the amount of research and new information i discovered prior to physically making these pieces. learning about each of the preceding scripts that led to modern day arabic – where they originated from, their functions and how they spread throughout the region – was extremely fascinating. i was also amazed at how the origins of the phonetics of modern day arabic letters comes from earlier scripts whose letters symbolically communicate the root words. e.g: the arabic letter ع comes from the root word for eye (عين) which in earlier scripts was represented as symbols referencing the shape of an eye. this research was what really drove the idea behind my project – i was really interested in looking at these letters as symbols. the selected scripts i chose to work with were musnad and aramaic, two scripts that mainly originated in modern day arabian/persian gulf and north africa.
furthermore, my research also entered the world of talismans. i was fascinated at how a lot of today's adorning designs on garments and textiles which we all find aesthetically pleasing, originate from a place of symbolic function. asymmetrical patterns, repetition, geometry, fringe, embroidery (specifically around the neck, wrists, and ankles), the use of specific colours (red, blue and silver, for their protective and healing properties), materials that are reflective – these are some of the talismanic devices adorning traditional garments and costumes, all used to deflect evil spirits and bad luck.
with all this exciting research, i wanted to reinterpret beliefs surrounding talismanic devices and the power of the written word, applying it onto a series of wearable textiles that once adorned, activate their protective powers. the three final textile pieces are comprised of a talismanic body wrap, shirt, and sarong. each item is adorned with ancient letters that reference talismanic symbols – the eye, fish, water, serpent, hand and plant – symbols that were used as motifs adorning textiles throughout history. combining screen-printing, dyeing and embroidery techniques, i hope i achieved creating textiles that's rich in content and mystical goodness! i'm really satisfied with how the final collection turned out.
a few thank you's are in order – thank you to huda for having me on board this really exciting exhibition. also, thank you to the warehouse 421 team for all their support throughout the process of making these pieces, and exhibiting them in the best way possible. a big thank you goes to mobius design studio and tashkeel, for providing me with space and facilities to work on these very lengthy textiles! a big thank you goes to the many friends that supported me on many stressful occasions (you know who you are). lastly, the biggest thanks of all goes to salama nasib – thank you for being there almost every week in the production phase of this project, for being there when i was stressed, for the extra hand with printing, for always being there to bounce off ideas, and for the company on many late night dinners. i'll never forget this.
'nomadic traces: journey of arabian scripts' runs until 28 july 2018. i hope everyone reading this gets a chance to check out the exhibition. trust me, it's really good. plus there's a great catalogue that goes with it which you must purchase at the warehouse 421 shop as a little treat for yourself!

ps – if anyone's wondering, the title of this post (and project) comes from the proverb 'if speech is silver, then silence is golden'.


fully booked

fully booked dubai art book fair . 2019

in more march madness news, i'm happy to announce my participation in this year's edition of the fully booked dubai art book fair. i missed the previous editions of the fair during my time in the united states, so i'm really looking forward to attending this year, as well as participating.
the actual book fair is scheduled for 21-23 march, at alserkal avenue, with programming beginning on the 18th. for complete details on programming, and the vendors list, head to the fully booked 2019 site. and if you're interested in checking out information on previous editions of the fair, head to their main page.
i'll be selling a selection of my existing publications and zines, including never forget, issues one and two of fade away & illustrate, we met on the dance floor, big city trails, capes make the man, and a few more goodies.
looking forward to seeing you all at fully booked!


march workshops

from 'sharjah textile hunters' workshop . 2018

i'll be teaching two textile themed workshops during march! the first workshop, with the support of tashkeel, is titled 'printing patterns on textiles', happening on saturday 16 march, from 10am-1pm, at the youth hub, emirates towers. participants will work on designs which will be turned into stamps and later used to print repeating patterns onto plain fabrics (similar to the images above from last year's 'sharjah textile hunters' workshop). for more info and to register, head to the workshop page here. i'm sure you'll be happy to know that this workshop is free!
the second workshop will be at warehouse 421, on tuesday 26 march, from 5:30-7:30pm. titled 'talismanic textiles', this workshop will be slightly different, taking inspiration from the 'nomadic traces' exhibition i am part of (see previous post about the exhibition here). once again, participants will create stamps out of their designed motifs for printing repeat patterns onto plain textile surfaces. this time, participants will take inspiration from talismanic symbols and objects, as well as my contribution to the exhibition to create motifs and designs that communicate protection. for more info and to register (sorry guys, this one has a fee!), please head to the workshop page here.
hope to see you all at one (or both) of these workshops!


nomadic traces

'nomadic traces: journey of arabian scripts' exhibition e-invite . 2019

march madness is finally upon us, and i'm happy to announce my first exhibition participation of 2019! opening on march 16, i will be showcasing in warehouse 421's upcoming group show 'nomadic traces: journey of arabian scripts', in partnership with the khatt foundation. conceived and curated by dr. huda smitshuijzen abifarès, this exhibition 'explores the role that scripts have played in defining and preserving the cultural identity of past and present civilisations, and on the migrational and transformative nature of writing, and its ability to freely cross borders and cultures.'
the exhibition will feature important ancient scripts from the middle east – predecessors of the arabic script and language. the show will also include newly commissioned works by artists responding to selected ancient scripts to produce new artworks. i will be presenting new textile pieces, my first textile work since graduating from risd.
for more information, head to both warehouse 421 and khatt foundation's exhibition pages. stay tuned for a future post about my artwork for the show. until then, i hope to see you all in abu dhabi for the opening...