“I might have a heart that beats and functions regularly, but I
cannot confirm that I am alive.”
search within myself, I perceive a self that has an independent
existence and that contains a set of laws which rule and govern
the body as a physical entity. However, the existence of the
self does not correspond to that of an individuality, hence my
continuous search to define my relationship to being and to
think of my work as feminist in the traditional sense of the
word. In a way, I am concerned with pain and isolation, among
other sentiments. On a technical level, I try to create a visual
language accessible to different audiences, a language that
transcends the specificities of culture, be it Eastern or
Western. I think of my art as artwork made by a female artist. I
see my creative process as a tool for expression rather than
crave to produce a final artwork.
I may have
a heart the beats and functions regularly, but I cannot confirm
that I am alive. Emotions inhabit this human frame and make a
vessel of it. Therefore, I attempt to adjust my understanding so
as to perceive the self in a wider context, a context in which
these abstracted/removed emotions fluctuate between being
memories and dreams. Within such a framework, these abstract
emotions appear to me as constituting my true self, the self
that I can see clearly, beyond the narrow confines of my body.
A few years
ago, a certain personal experience had a significant effect on
my life. At that point in time, I had not been working for more
than two years. During the period of retreat that I took, I kept
a kind of diary. With the passage of time, it became a private
space, a sort of secret garden where I was able to negotiate the
elusive boundaries between reality and memories. I later used it
as a point of departure for creating a visual narrative that
allowed me to communicate all sorts of emotions and sentiments,
emotions that were sometimes loaded with ambivalence and
My work is
not specifically about women in Muslim society, although it
deals with the way humans reflect the societies they inhabit or
originate from. Humans, men and women alike, including artists
of both genders, experience the issues and problems that afflict
their societies. In my art, I focus on understanding and
consequently responding to these issues.
(2003), I tried to map out the connection between the
physical-clinical existence of humans and the private world they
simultaneously occupy by exploring a universe in which reality
blends with dreams and the imaginative with intimate nostalgia.
I try, always try, to create a space where I can probe my
identities vis-a-vis the world around me. Using a wide range of
media, I often attempt to explore the world of illusion against
a backdrop of memory, a memory that is nearly always based on
and exploring the metaphysical world that lies hidden beneath
the physical, I attempt to bring the unseen into visual space.
In this way, I came to perceive the existence of a metaphorical
room that lies within the physical body, a room that reflects a
much bigger one that lies outside of the body, one that
represents society, with all the customs, traditions,
conventions and factors that condition it.
think of displacement as a state, what comes to my mind is not
the physical displacement caused by the boundaries that separate
societies, but rather the schisms endured by the human entity
that moves about with all its contradictions, dreams, emotions
and sentiments, a representation of society and all of its
Displacement for me is the transformation of man from his own
self to another state, a state in which his body is reduced to a
mere shell; inside the shell, a metamorphosis takes place,
during which a total separation of elements happens: the
external physical shape is detached from its content, long-lived
dreams from reality. Man becomes a stranger not only to the
outer world but to his dismantled self as well.
obsession with displacement led me to create, two years later,
Artificial Forest (Video-animation 2005).
Based on a dream in which the phrase “purple artificial forest”
was repeated several times, I dismantled objects, organs, and
body parts, whose pieces served as the principal elements of my
work. Each component represents the protagonist (possibly
myself) and is related to a mirror. In this mirror, an ethereal
entity devours them. Throughout the animation, the ethereal
entity establishes a relationship with the protagonist, as whole
or as “individual parts,” always and endlessly feeding on her,
her image, her property, her thoughts and even her dreams. In
the final climax scene, both the protagonist and the entity
devour each other in a reciprocal apocalypse.
Booby-Trapped Heaven (video installation- limited
edition photographs, 2006) is a double journey, a journey to the
inside of the self and a journey through the real, physical
world. The protagonist is in a mobile vehicle, looking out onto
a citysscape. As the city’s lights fade away, only the
reflection of a human face can be faintly seen in a glass
window. A suggestion of the vehicle being an airplane is made.
Once the city is out of sight, a screen in the plane becomes the
protagonist’s only link to the world. She watches the image of a
little plane as it crawls around the screen, forming lines of
dots as it moves from one city to another, all of which have no
plane begins its descent, she looks around in all directions.
What she sees is a shapeless space, stretching out forever.
There is neither a defined landscape nor a skyline in sight. The
protagonist is trapped in a standing position for minutes,
hours, days… an eternity.
collaborations with Abdel
Ghani Kenawy, which lasted for over a decade, we
developed material/concrete aspects in our work that
complemented my very individual/personal world of dreams and
spirituality. The process of our physical and intellectual
explorations was very much reminiscent of that of science.
Science, in its investigation of characteristics, structures,
and relationships, searches for the core of things. Science is
not just about minute parts and particulars; it aspires to
understand totalities as well. To tackle art using a scientific
approach is to look into its functions, physiologies and
molecular dynamics, to explore its organics as much as its
mechanics. In our projects that involved sculpture,
installation, or video performances, we attempted to understand
the laws governing natural forms and their interactions with one
another. Our main common assumption was that “function
determines form.” Function, after all, links all the components
of nature, the animate and inanimate, turning them into one
global matrix that encompasses the essence of existence.