Shifting Identities is a project about collecting stories and telling stories through drawings. The focus of the project is the Middle-East and different systems of values and beliefs. How much do we know about the Middle-East and how much do people from the Middle-East know about our way of living? What is connecting us and what pushes us further apart? Within the project, different aspects of cultural narratives and the culture of remembrance will be addressed. The concept of the project is based on the idea, that for many people, parts of their identities and the way they understand themselves come from the struggles and challenges they have endured. Existential life experiences such as illness, poverty, or exodus become the guiding star of their existence and their actions. The project allows people to share and tell the stories of their lives in different ways. As human beings, we are wired to connect to others and to be recognized and understood by others. This is a basic human need. It makes visible what is invisible. The project weaves together many different aspects of life – and cultural concepts – into a multifaceted story. The project is intended to show a larger picture of who we are as a human being.
Since 2017 the square is my subject and all works are made in a square format. The underlying idea and inspiration for this subject is the square found in geometric Islamic art, in which it is the foundational form of elaborate patterns in architecture, tiles, mosaics, wall decorations, textiles…etc.
In my work, I take this idea and I make it my own.
Study of Square / To my generation
The idea behind this series of works comes from the form in which within the Islamic tradition/generation of my parents, the name of god is decorated on tiles, on other materials and objects as a souvenir. Decoration and souvenir are linked to and symbolize the journey and paradise. Thus 99 names of God are depicted, to carry god close and remember him. I transfer this principle to my situation where I have painted on paper 100 names of people whom I personally appreciate and want to keep close. People who had and have made an impression on me. Names that I have a particular memory of in the past. These names are of Middle Eastern and Western artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, poets, composers, directors, actors and singers. In this work, I also show how East and West inspire each other with some of the names.
Study of Square/ To my generation, acrylic and Pencil on paper, 15 x 15 cm (100x), 2020
Collection Stedelijk museum Schiedam NL
Detail from Study of Square/ To my generation