I have been commissioned by the Nour Festival 2012 to create site-specific installations across the Leighton House Museum. I had two projects on display: Mourning Hall in the 'Arab Hall', and Translations, which was a series of objects in different rooms of the House.
Mourning Hall is a reinterpretation of the 'Arab Hall'. this work was a response to the lack of mourning spaces in Syria during the uprising.
Temporary burial and mourning rituals were denied for the families of those killed by the regime. Funeral services were forcefully cancelled, and people attempting to hold them outside churches and mosques would be arrested. As a result, new collective, spatial, and visual practices emerged. Having to escape the regime’s repression, people resorted to midnight burials, often in orchards, public and private gardens, and—in the case of massacres—mass graves. Instead of the usually-observed three days of mourning, paying respect to the families of those killed became a speedy act so as to avoid recognition of their homes. Acts of mourning would turn into protests, and funerals resulted in more funerals.Mourning Hall is informed by both these emerging and missing practices. Research for this piece involved excavating the video archive of night-time demonstrations that were held as an act of grievance over the dead and celebration of the uprisings. Each of the Fifteenth-to-Seventeenth-century hand painted Damascene tiles in the Arab Hall now holds a name written in Arabic calligraphy of a woman, man, or child who was killed in the last two years. Let us finally declare our mourning over those unjustly killed.
The show 'Translations' includes a collection in which I use Arabic language to create objects and furniture, while looking at the possible transformations of that text, in relation to its meaning, and function of object itself.
The show was on from Nov 5 - Dec 5, 2012 at the Leighton House Museum
This work was kindly funded by The Arts Council and the Nour Festival